Top-Rated Free Essay

Canterbury Tales (Reeve Charac

Good Essays
In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer's descriptive technique used to present the Reeve emphasized his physical characteristics as well as the success he attained in his occupation. It is evident that Chaucer gives two different perceptions of the Reeve, one perception is of his physical makeup and the other is of his success achieved in his occupation. In Chaucer's introduction of the Reeve, he immediately begins with the Reeve's physical makeup, as shown in this excerpt from The Canterbury Tales: "His beerd was shave as neigh as evere he can; His heer was by his eres ful round yshorn; His top was dokked lik a preest biforn; Ful longe were his legges and ful lene, Ylik a staf, ther was no calf yseene (590-594)." This excerpt shows the attention to detail Chaucer selected to introduce the Reeve. Chaucer also gives the Reeve a name, which is not commonly done for most pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer announces the Reeve's name in The Miller's Tale, as shown in this excerpt: "The Reeve looked up and shouted, ‘Shut your trap!'. . . To this the drunken Miller responded, ‘My dear old brother Oswald, such is life...' This excerpt from The Miller's Tale shows Chaucer getting very specific by connecting the Reeve with a name. This act of naming the Reeve gives evidence to support the argument that the Reeve seems to be more of a specific individual than a representative of a large class of people. After Chaucer presents the physical characteristics of the Reeve, he then describes the Reeve's occupation. A reeve by definition is a minor official or superintendent on an estate, generally an intermediary between a lord and his serfs. His job included being responsible and accountable for all his master's accounts and animals, as shown in this excerpt from The Canterbury Tales: "His swin, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye was hoolly in the Reeves governinge, and by his covenant yaf the reckeninge, sin that his lord was twenty-yeer of age (600-603)." This excerpt shows the Reeve controlling what happens with his master's property and taking care of his financial situation because the master himself was too young to do it. The Reeve was excellent at managing his master's estate and he himself had grown rich from his success as a superintendent, not hesitating to shower his master with gifts to gain even more favor with him: "He coude bettre than his lord purchace. Ful riche he was astored prively His lord wel coude he pleasen subtilly To yive and lene him of his owene good And have a thank, and yite a cote and hood(610-614)." The Reeve was a successful superintendent for his master and even bargained better than the master himself, which is why he was in control of the master's estate in the first place. The Reeve was also respected for his accomplishments by those in the position of officials: "There coude no man bringe him in arrerage Ther nas balliff, hierde, nor other hine, That he ne knew his sleighte and his covine-- They were adrad of him as of the deeth (604-607)." Chaucer also makes mention of the Reeve's horse and the fact that he carried a rusty blade at his side. His horse was only a stallion-cob and his blade was rusty, showing that he really did not have use for either the horse or blade. Chaucer, in his description of the Reeve, decides not to make a mention of his religious practices or beliefs. This was not Chaucer's intention because it has no relevance to the character of the Reeve at all. As Chaucer presents these pilgrims in a social order from the highest in society to the lowest, the Reeve ends up falling between the Miller and the Summoner. Although from the character analysis the Reeve appears to be a successful superintendent of a prosperous estate, his position in society is low because he does not own the land that he presides over. Even though he is successful and has gained some wealth through his occupation, he still does not own the property and possessions and therefore cannot attain the higher social status. In conclusion, Chaucer presents the Reeve in detail uncommon to most of the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales. This detail along with the fact that the Reeve was given a name suggests that the Reeve tends to be more of a specific individual than a general presentation of a class or type of person. He also was prosperous in his occupation of superintendent of his master's estate, and even though he was respected and acknowledged for his accomplishments and wealth, he did not have the high social status because of his lack of land ownership.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Canterbury Tales

    • 770 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Literature November 9, 2012 Revenge is Sweet – Affairs are Sour The Reeve’s and Miller’s Tale contradict each other in many ways towards the characters ambitions and personalities. The Miller and Reeve try to get revenge on each other by insulting one another through these parables. The main themes in these stories are as follows: jealousy, revenge, and trickery. Jealousy is shown in the Reeve’s Tale because the scholars and the miller try to get even with each other throughout the entire story…

    • 770 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Canterbury Tales

    • 528 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Katie Paschal After reading the Canterbury Tales and the General Prologue, I learned a lot about all of the Pilgrims. The pilgrim that I found the most interesting was the Pardoner, which is why I chose to use him for my project. The Pardoner worked for the Church and was despised by many churchgoers. In return for making donations to charitable enterprises, the Pardoner was licensed by the Pope to sell papal indulgences. People would give money in exchange for pardons and the Pardoner would…

    • 528 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Canterbury Tales

    • 900 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. The tales are presented as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims. The Canterbury Tales, the work stands as a historical and sociological introduction to the life and times of the late Middle Ages. he was familiar with and was accepted by the lower classes as well as by the higher classes; thus, throughout his life, he was able to observe both the highest…

    • 900 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    canterbury tales

    • 2712 Words
    • 11 Pages

    THE CANTERBURY TALES STUDY GUIDE QUESTIONS Prologue 1. In lines 1-18 (which are all one sentence), identify the time and the author’s main point. April; the main point is that according to the poet, people long to go on a pilgrimage in the Spring. 2. Why does the urge to go on pilgrimage hit people in the spring? Winter is over; it’s time for renewal. 3. Who is at the inn? Who arrives at the inn? What is the central idea? (Look in ll. 19-28). The narrator is at the inn; twenty-nine pilgrims…

    • 2712 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Canterbury Tales

    • 3916 Words
    • 16 Pages

    pilgrims, like the narrator, are traveling to the shrine of the martyr Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury. The narrator gives a descriptive account of twenty-seven of these pilgrims, including a Knight, Squire, Yeoman, Prioress, Monk, Friar, Merchant, Clerk, Man of Law, Franklin, Haberdasher, Carpenter, Weaver, Dyer, Tapestry-Weaver, Cook, Shipman, Physician, Wife, Parson, Plowman, Miller, Manciple, Reeve, Summoner, Pardoner, and Host. (He does not describe the Second Nun or the Nun’s Priest, although…

    • 3916 Words
    • 16 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Canterbury Tales

    • 339 Words
    • 2 Pages

    10/2/12 The Canterbury Tales The Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffry Chaucer, is known as a Frame tale. A Frame tale is a story that leads up to another story. The Canterbury Tales, to me, was a very interesting story. A couple of the characters, the Knight and the Plowman, greatly caught my eye. The Canterbury Tales is about a pilgrimage made to a holy place during the 1300’s for religious reasons. Twenty-nine pilgrims travel to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas a Becket. As…

    • 339 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Reeve´s tale

    • 690 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Reeve's Tale Simkin is a miller who lives in Trumpington near Cambridge and who steals wheat and meal brought to him for grinding. Simkin is also a bully and expert with knives. His wife is the portly daughter of the town clergyman (and therefore illegitimate, as Catholic priests do not marry). They have a twenty-year-old daughter Malyne and a six-month-old son. When Simkin overcharged for his latest work grinding corn for Soler Hall, a Cambridge University college also known as King's Hall…

    • 690 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Canterbury Tales

    • 2656 Words
    • 11 Pages

    The Canterbury Tales: Review Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is considered as one of the major beginning marks in English Literature. The Canterbury Tales, written in 14th century is a collection of short stories mainly in verse form. The stories in The Canterbury Tales are told by a group of 24 pilgrims on pilgrimage from Southwark to Canterbury to visit the shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. A Prologue to The Canterbury Tales introduces the major characters of the…

    • 2656 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    The Canterbury Tales

    • 1219 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The Canterbury Tales is a piece written by Geoffrey Chaucer sought out to accomplish various goals. Chaucer wrote his tales during the late 1300’s. This puts him right at the beginning of the decline of the Middle Ages. Historically, we know that a middle class was just starting to take shape at this time, due to the emerging commerce industry. Chaucer was able to see the importance and future success of the middle class, and wrote his work with them in mind. Knowing that the middle class was…

    • 1219 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    the canterbury tale

    • 2397 Words
    • 10 Pages

    The Canterbury Tales Comparative Essay Task: You are to write a 5-paragraph essay on one of the topics below. The essay needs to be written using formal language, and needs to include a minimum of SIX quotations. The suggested length is 2 ½ - 3 pages typed, double-spaced (approximately 750 words). Your essay does not require extra research. You will have all of the information you will need from: The medieval times Internet Search, “The Prologue” character notes, “The Pardoner’s Tale”,…

    • 2397 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Good Essays