Characterization in Canterbury Tales

Topics: The Canterbury Tales, The Summoner's Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer Pages: 2 (627 words) Published: January 11, 2011
From cover to cover, Geoffry Chaucer's late 14th century collection of short stories, Canterbury Tales, provides readers with a unique literary experience. Chaucer compiles twenty-four short allegories of no relation, yet all of the narrators know eachother. Another interesting trait of Chaucer's masterpiece takes place in the beginning as he dedicates over twenty pages just to characterization of the story tellers. Chaucer takes about a page to deeply introduce the reader to each character who tells their own fable. It has been said of Chaucer's characterization that "the sheer variety of wealth of detail creates the impression of a specific person. And yet, taken together, it all adds up to a comparatively simple stereotype" (Prompt) Chaucer goes into such detail in his prologue that he almost seems to create real people. For the most part, Chaucer stereotypically characterizes each character, but in the tale about another person of their same type, he satirically and indirectly characterizes them contradictary to the reader's initial impressions of the equatable narrating characters. Chaucer creates these contradictart characterizations to show the flaws in society. Chaucer sets up the reader with a stereotypical description of each character showing them what characteristics the characters should possess, then simulatenously in the tales points out traits that one would view as corrupt and ironic. In the "Shipman's tale", a monk goes behind his best friend's back and sleeps with his wife. Ironically not something a stereotypical monk should do. In the "Friar's Tale", a summoner corruptly blackmails people to keep from summoning them. Lastly in the "Wife of Bath's Tale", a knight rapes a women which contradict's Chaucer's initial noble description of the Knight. In the "Wife of Bath's Tale", a "lusty" knight sees a maiden "alone as she was born", and despite her refusal "by very force he took her maidenhead" (282). This Knight contradicts...
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