Chaucers View

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It is said that Geoffrey Chaucer was one of the greatest English writers of all times. With Chaucer's straight forward personality, it is not shocking that he would express his arguments or beliefs through his work. One main points he made apparent in his writing was corruption going on in the Catholic Church During Chaucer's time, indulgences were of great controversy and Chaucer, along with many other people, were against them. He took this time to voice his feelings about the situation and wrote one of his most famous works; The Canterbury Tales. The Canterbury Tales is a series of tales, told by pilgrims on their journey to the shrine of Saint Becket. Many thought that Chaucer was simply telling a story, but little did people know he was criticizing the Catholic Church. Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales in order to preach a sermon against the Seven Deadly Sins due to its corruption in the Catholic Church. Within The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses the tales of certain characters to symbolize the Seven Deadly Sins and corruption. “The fabliau, as it took new form under Chaucer's compelling interest in characterization, brought him up against problems of mortality that were to become basic in the developed Canterbury Tales” (Owen 226). He uses tales such as The Knight's Tale, The Miller's Tale, The Pardoner's Tale, The Reeve's Tale, and The Parson's Tale which was a sermon itself. Notice he uses characters such as the pardoner and parson; members of the clergy to show that sinning was taking place in a holy place like the Catholic Church. Chaucer makes sure that he displays all the Seven Deadly Sins in his tales and some tales represent more than one of the sins. The Seven Deadly Sins consist of Lust, Gluttony, Avarice, Sloth, Anger, Jealousy, and Pride. According to New Advent, Lust is the inordinate craving for, or indulgence of, the carnal pleasure which is experienced in the human organs of generation. Sloth is said to be the disinclination to labor or exertion. Gluttony means excessive indulgence. Avarice is the inordinate loves for riches. Anger is defined as the desire of vengeance. Jealousy is a sorrow which one entertains at another's well-being because of their view that one's own excellence is in consequence lessened. Lastly, Pride is the excessive love of one's own excellence (Delany). Everyone of these sins are used in the following tales. One of the first tales in The Canterbury Tales to symbolize the Seven Deadly Sins was The Knight's Tale. In The Knight's Tale, Duke Theseus of Athens, is on his way home from attacking Scythia. While he was there, he wins over a wife and what now is a sister-in-law; Emily. Along the way, Theseus runs into a group of crying women. They beg Theseus to take revenge on Creon, the King of Thebes, because he refuses to bury their husbands. The oldest women stated “Their bodies were dragged out onto the plain into a heap, and there, as we have learnt, they neither may have burial nor be burnt, but he makes dogs devour them, in scorn” (28). Theseus decides to fight Creon, and beats him. After winning against Creon, he takes two of his men; Palamon and Arcite to be servants for his castle. The servants are thrown in the tower to work without ransom. Over time, they both fall in love with Emily after watching her through the tower window. One day Arcite is let go, but with the promise of never returning. Arcite is envious of Palamon being able to see Emily everyday. On the other hand, Palamon was envious of Arcite being able to form an army to get Emily back. Arcite comes back in disguise and Palamon escapes, they run into one another and decide to fight over Emily. Arcite wins the battle, but with complications that caused death. Emily ends up marrying Palamon in the end, “That is called matrimony, also marriage, by counsel of the Duke and all his peerage. And thus with every bliss and melody Palamon was espoused to Emily” (86). The sins associated with this tale are Lust, Anger,...
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