How British Literature Affected Western Christianity

Topics: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, Literature Pages: 2 (720 words) Published: May 7, 2014
Brit Lit Final
Bobby Yang
Over the centuries, British writers and their respective literary works significantly impacted the Western Christian perspective. Beginning as early as the ninth century, you can find literary evidence of Christianity in vague monotheistic references in Beowulf that have led many scholars to believe it was of Christian authorship. These early writings show Christianity's influence upon the culture, but as centuries went by, the tides began to turn, and the culture would begin to sway the religion. Any search into this claim will uncover examples and methods innumerable and interwoven, but the most influential aspects seem to involve the role of morality plays, the political influences within Britain itself, and perhaps most strongly, the writings of England's three literary geniuses; Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Austin. It is therefore the intent of this paper to touch upon these influences and to get a glimpse at the importance of British Literature in the shaping of Western Christianity. The Canterbury Tales was Chaucer's flagship work, and covered such a variety of subjects that one could veritably quote him on any topic. The first way that Chaucer affected religious views is in the very backdrop of his poem. The Tales take place amidst a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Chaucer has shown in his fictional piece that the pilgrimage is for all people, be they a humble housewife or a noble knight. Secondly, the stories and prologues are peppered with commentary about religious subjects of the day. Through the Pardoner's Tale, Chaucer expresses the hypocrisy of Catholic indulgences more than 170 years before Luther's 95 Theses was published. The list goes on, and so does Geoffrey Chaucer's impact upon the religion of this day. In Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, there is as a well a Christian message hidden in this story, besides the obvious message about the transformative power of love. There is a Reverend Collins in this movie, who while...
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