Themes in the Canterbury Tales
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales is a work written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the late fourteenth century about a group of pilgrims, of many different occupations and personalities, who meet at an inn near London as they are setting out for Canterbury, England. Their host proposes a storytelling contest to make the journey more interesting.
The Prologue and the Tales are basically written by Chaucer, as a satire on the society of that time; he has portrayed each and every character in an ironical way; the way all the characters think and act are seem comical on surface level but its deeper understanding can make the reader feel that it is all satirizing. The prevailing mood of The Canterbury Tales is obviously that of comedy. The most prominent aspect of the book is the amazing magnitude of the range of its representation of medieval society. The poem aims at wholeness and presents an amalgam of all the Themes and conventions of contemporary medieval literature. Themes
"The Canterbury Tales" is a multifarious work with several thematic interests. The poem corresponds to the English society of the fourteenth century. All the three primary levels of medieval society; the Knighthood, the spiritual clergy and the toiling agricultural classes have generous representation in the portrayal of the Knight, Parson and Plowman. The high class breeding is represented through the Prioress and the Monk. The medieval mansion is pictured through the Miller and the Reeve. The Merchant, the innkeeper Host, the Manciple, the Cook, and the five guildsmen are the typical embodiment of the middle classes. The professional class is described through the Sergeant at Law and the Physician. Provincial England is also exemplified through the Wife of Bath and the Sea captain from Dartmouth. The Canterbury Tales caters the reader with a representation of a disorganized Christian society;...
Cited: Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. Ed Mack, Maynard et al. W. W. Norton and Co. New York, NY. 1992
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer: Edited, from Numerous Manuscripts. The Clarendon press 1894, p. 300-390
Hysell, Shannon Graff. American Reference Books Annual.
Libraries Unlimited, 2007, p. 462-704
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