Canterbury Tales Interpretive Essay

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The Evil Side of Human Nature

Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales became one of the first ever works that began to approach the standards of modern literature. It was probably one of the first books to offer the readers entertainment, and not just another set of boring morals. However, the morals, cleverly disguised, are present in almost every story. Besides, the book offers the descriptions of the most common aspects of the human nature. The books points out both the good and the bad qualities of the people, however, the most obvious descriptions are those of the sinful flaws of humans, such as greed and lust. One of the people's traits affected by human nature in many stories is greed. As shown throughout, greed is an evil sin. This is especially obvious in the Pardoner's Tale, where the Pardoner, a church-appointed official who collects gold for absolving people their sins, tells about the evils of money. In the story, three friends, who wanted to make the world better by killing death, find gold, and unwilling to share, start planning to kill each other. Two friends sent the third to bring them food and wanted to kill him after he came back. The victim, however, also wanted the money, and poisoned their drinks. As a result, all three friends die. "Thus were these two homicides finished,/ and the false poisoner too." (Chaucer 365). Even though Chaucer's conclusions are not expressed and actually are very different from what the Pardoner says, Chaucer manages to convey his message to the audience. In the Reeve's Tale, greed and envy caused two young students and the Miller to trick and steal from each other. "This Miller has done me great mischief, and I will not leave without first finding his daughter" (The Reeve). In the end, the students sleep with the Miller's wife and daughter, and the Miller ends up beaten and losing many of his possessions, but the story doesn't justify the students, the stealing, or even the greed itself. Chaucer leaves it up to...
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