Canterbury Tales Essay

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R.Kee
Canterbury Tales Essay

Stereotypes in modern times are viewed by most people as something to fight against and to get away from. People are always trying to break the mold and become their own person, independent from everyone else. However stereotypes continue to classify many people despite their attempts to differentiate themselves. But in contradiction to popular belief, stereotypes do have some value. Such is the case in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer bases each of his characters of of the stereotypical person from which they get their name. For example, when Chaucer describes the Miller, he creates a character which, in Chaucer's time, would have perfectly fit the stereotypical miller. Unfortunately though, Chaucer seems to be somewhat biased towards certain characters in his story. He shows only a negative side to many of his characters, gives little in the way of redeeming qualities to his characters, and presents most of the religious figures in a cynical manner. It is because of all the aforementioned reasons that Chaucer's stereotypical characterizations are unacceptable, and only serve to display the general light that certain people were seen in. In several of the characters in The Canterbury Tales Chaucer seems to spend too much of his time focusing on the negative parts of a character. For example, with the Wife of Bath, a lot of attention is given to the fact that she has had no less than five husbands, and is clearly a not an amateur when it comes to love. But little time is spent of the fact that she has been faithful to all her husbands while she was with them “She was a worthy womman al hir lyve”(461). The same goes for the Squire, he presented in a way that makes it seem like all he is a carefree person who does nothing except chase girls and play his flute. Chaucer spends little time examining his wartime honors “in Flandres, in Artois, and Picardye”(86). Also when describing certain...
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