What in Your Opinion, Is Chaucer’s View of the “Religious” ...

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What in Your Opinion, Is Chaucer’s View of the “Religious” Characters in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales?

By | March 2013
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What in your opinion, is Chaucer’s view of the “religious” characters in The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales? Chaucer began to write The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales in 1387 when England was a Catholic state. Chaucer, a strong believer of his faith became aware that the Catholic church was becoming corrupt. He saw that over time, it was becoming ironically more greedy, among other sins, which are of course strongly prohibited by the religion. Thus, The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales is about Chaucer’s view of how the Catholic Church was becoming more corrupt. It consists of a number of tales which were used to criticise the Church, on how it functioned and what it did. It was supposed to damage the Church prompting change on its actions which helped bring about the Reformation. The story is set on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. The first ‘religious’ character we come across is the Prioress, the Head of the Nunnery who held the fourth rank of the hierarchy to the Church. This authority and job held her responsible for ensuring that the other nuns would grow up to become the flawless, diligent ‘Bride of Christ’, being absent of all sins. She is a lustful, feisty figure who has an overwhelming hunger for men, which is of course a violation of her vows to celibacy. Chaucer uses her sinful being to show the corruption of the Church. Her actions will be passed on to the other nuns leading to the future generation of nuns to possess sinful manors, and will gradually become a trait of all nuns. Chaucer goes on to describe her epicurean habits. Being a prioress, she is supposed to do a number of duties but it seems that she has a bigger interest in etiquette. It is mentioned that the prioress is also indulging herself with casual sex, which is strictly forbidden as she is ‘married to Christ’. Chaucer goes in to say she cares for animals, ‘she wolde wepe, if that she saugh a mous kaught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde’, but then is...

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