Morals and Values of the Middle Ages

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j. perez Morals and Values in the Middle Ages During the middle ages, there were many corrupt church officials, people who took advantage of others, and very few honest men. Geoffrey Chaucer was one of those honest men who believed in writing the truth and not just what the powerful wanted to hear. In his literary work, The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer’s biases and values are most portrayed through characters such as the Parson, the Oxford Cleric, and the Reeve. Through them, he speaks his mind on the customs of that day. Though Chaucer was biased against the church, and wrote many church officials as immoral, he was still able to reveal his thoughts on what a good church leader should be like. Of the Parson, he wrote, “he sought no pomp or glory in his dealings, no scrupulosity had spiced his feelings” (535-536). Chaucer valued an honest man, especially one who worked for the church and followed what he taught. He believed that ecclesiastical leaders should be truthful in all their dealings, or the people they lead would also fall astray. The Parson’s clothing was not described, showing he was not materialistic, and fully invested in his work for the church. Being educated himself, Chaucer must have valued the power of knowledge. He expressed this through the character of the Oxford Cleric. As a hard-working man, the cleric’s “only care was study”, and nothing else (313). The cleric used his food money to further his education, knowing this would cost him his physical health. In his home, “he preferred having twenty books… than costly clothes” (304-305). Although he could afford better clothing for himself, the cleric chose to buy books and expand his knowledge. Here, Chaucer is expressing his feelings on his own schooling and the value of education. In Chaucer’s day, there were many men who would steal and lie to get ahead in life, such as the character of the Reeve. The Reeve was the

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