Canterbury Tales

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The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales


The Canterbury Tales is a series of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the fourteenth century. It represents the criticism on Catholic Church through various short stories. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the text in Middle English in around for the most part. The book integrates the stories into the book, and it is told through a group of pilgrims on their way from Southward to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. In all 24 stories, they are spoken by the pilgrims. Chaucer expands the idea of criticism on church through stories by placing it in the context of the pilgrimage. This allows, for the diversity of successive storytellers, so the themes address different audiences and delineate the criticism on church.

Thesis Statement

Geoffrey Chaucer's criticism of the Catholic Church resonates categorically in "The Canterbury Tales."

Criticism on Catholic Church

Chaucer has expounded his criticism on Catholic Church that the characteristics of the people involved in it have monstrous hypocrisy. Myriad number of people began to question regarding the Church's authority after the Black Death. The tale sheds light on multiple views on Church (Bloom, 1985). These scenarios exposed the clergy and false churches. These tales represent the same time in which he involved various characters to show the hypocrisy and corruption amongst them. He made religion a dominant theme in his tale. The author retains its spiritual meaning of the pilgrimage while showing his characters, the pilgrims, in their earthly and human dimension, each one different, sometimes antagonistic, but all are united in a common goal, the shrine of Thomas Becket. The progression of the narrative, the sequence of conflicting stories, we can say that there is an analogy between the courses of the pilgrimage and the Christian vision of humanity's march toward the heavenly Jerusalem. Through a wide range of examples, he explicates the criticism on church. Chaucer described all of them so well that we can easily see the picture of how they lived and how they behaved in manners of work and other ways of life. While he described them, he also criticized some members of the clergy position, because of their abusing of their position and doing things that they were not supposed to do, or not doing something they were supposed to do in their position. Among those people whom Chaucer criticized very much were the Friar and the Pardoner ...
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