Chaucer 's Canterbury Tales As A Striking Social Commentary On The Class System, Religious Life, And Gender

1449 Words Nov 16th, 2016 6 Pages
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales serves as a striking social commentary on the class system, religious life, and gender roles of Medieval society. Through the Prioress’ Tale, he criticizes the anti-Semitism and narcissism of the Catholic Church. Meanwhile, the Wife of Bath’s Tale acts as a strong commentary on the role of women in society. Because of Christianity’s influence on society, anyone who fell outside the Renaissance man category tended to fall by the wayside. Chaucer’s depiction of Medieval women in the prologue alone speaks volumes about how women were treated in Medieval society. Out of all thirty pilgrims in the travel party, only two women are given a voice throughout the whole journey, and the way that he describes them shows that Medieval men had little respect for women as people. He describes the Prioress as the stereotypical dainty, good-mannered woman who is “dignified [and] charitable” (Chaucer 6). She is emotionally frail, “all sentiment and tender heart,” (7) weeping at the slightest little mouse caught in a trap. The Wife of Bath acts as a bold counterpoint to the dainty Prioress. The Wife of Bath is a luxurious and free-willed woman who wears the richest, most finely-spun garments. She is confident, bold, and open in love, “an art in which she [knows] the oldest dances” (15). Rather than focusing on her intellectual attributes, Chaucer goes on about her physical characteristics—her bold and handsome face, gap-teeth, and large hips. Meanwhile, on the…

Related Documents