Geoffrey Chaucer's Influence On Religion

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Geoffrey Chaucer was born 1342 into a middle-class family in London. As a child he attended school and soon after began his career as a page for Countess, which was considered quite a good position and furthered his education. At the age of 17 he was sent abroad to fight for the King of Britain in France where he was captured and held prisoner for one year until the King paid his ransom (Chaucer xi). By 1367, he worked for the King himself, and was held in high regard (xii). The King sent Chaucer abroad to negotiate trade relations on multiple occasions. These trips sent him to France and Italy and exposed him to their literature and culture (xiii). In 1386 after a few more postings in civil-service Chaucer was released from his duties, allowing …show more content…
His criticism of the church was something that most people of the time may have found relatable, just as comedians today criticize political figures and institutions for comedic effect. Just as comedians may use their platform to entertain as well as tell a truth, like Comedy Central’s Daily Show, Chaucer also tells a truth about his time. His criticism of many clergy members’ hypocrisy and corruption gives us a picture of religion in the 14th century. His positive description of the Parson tells us that he is not criticizing religion itself, only the people who are using it for personal gain instead of joining for its godly aims. He is clearly against corruption and sees it as hurting common people, like the Pardoner taking peoples money in return for pardons of sins instead of them gaining forgiveness for free through God. Chaucer also shares a lesson on his views of men and women. His views of men seem quite standard with ideas of honor and chivalry and roles of service for the middle and lower class. His views on the roles of women are somewhat more outspoken. He does share some common ideas like domestic roles for women, but his thoughts on marriage can be interpreted in multiple ways. In many ways, the Wife of Bath is a progressive, feminist woman. She is not ashamed of her sexuality, which we can infer from the line “I never used discretion when in love But ever followed on my appetite, Whether the lad was short, long, black or white” because she loves who she wants and doesn 't care what others think (275). She also believes in female dominance over males, at least in marriage. In her tale when the husband lets his new wife choose if she will be young and unfaithful or old and faithful and he lets her decide he is rewarded with her becoming both young and faithful (291-2). From this we know that she believes that when a man lets a woman choose things

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