The Canterbury Tales

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THE CANTERBURY TALES
In Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales, he makes his attitude about authority versus experience very clear to his audience. Through both the pardoner and the wife of bath’s tales he makes it clear that in order to claim authority over a subject there must be first hand experience. In both of these tales, it is proven that authority is only rightfully given to those with experience. In the miller’s tale, Chaucer mocks authority directly when Absolon ends up kissing Alison’s behind. Although Absolon belongs to the church and during this time would have been regarded as a high figure in authority, he is the target of humiliation. Nicolas on the other hand, although not much of a high ranking figure, seems to be the winner in the situation. He draws in Alison, and ends up getting to sleep with her. His experience with women as we are quickly introduced to, “ Of secret loves he knew and their solace; And he kept counsel, too, for he was sly And meek as any maiden passing by.”(pg.)

He is a master in the art of love which makes him the one who seems to get it all. Even though Nicolas is poor and does not have much, he has experience with love and with women and that itself is enough to give him authority on the subject of women rather than someone like Absolon. In the Miller’s tale, Nicolas’ experience is valued much more than Absolon’s authority and the same concept is portrayed in the Wife of Bath’s very controversial prologue. In the Wife of Bath’s prologue she focuses on the subject of marriage. Where she herself has been married several times, she proudly counts herself as an expert on the matter. “Whereof I've been an expert all my age,” As she continues to tell the other pilgrims of her many husbands, they too account her experiences to take on a great authority and they trust what she says on the matter of marriage. The pardoner interrupts...
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