Use Of Satire In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Who Should Be Listening?
(A discussion of Chaucer’s use of satire to reach his intended audience)

Who is this message really for? There are several people that can read something, but only a select few that will truly understand the meaning and know what the message is conveying. The message being written is important, but so it the intended audience that it is trying to reach. Chaucer was faced with this problem when expressing this thoughts in his work Canterbury Tales. Chaucer had huge problems with majorly radical issues of the day, most of them dealing with the church. He was in iconoclast, that is to say, he attacked and exposed the issues of sacred institutions. He wanted to addresses these issues, but need a way to keep himself
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Chaucer was an extremely intelligent man; he was fluent in several different languages including Latin and French. So the question commonly asked is why did he choose to write Canterbury Tales in English? English, at the time, was a much undeveloped language. There weren’t any grammar or spelling rules like there are today and it certainly wasn’t spoken by those who had any type of nobility of class. By writing his tales in English, Chaucer was able to reach his intended audience, the common people. He was then also known as the father of the English language. “Chaucer was saluted as the "Father of English Poetry.” Many modern readers know something about Chaucer 's most famous work, the Canterbury Tales, and its many outrageous characters, such as the Wife of Bath and the Pardoner,” (David C. Benson, 2007). Now the common people of the day were called Yokels. This name was extremely degrading and given to them by the wealthier and more noble class. The yokels spoke and read English. In the very beginning lines of The Pardoner’s Prologue, it is established that the yokels are of much lesser value than anyone else, especially anyone related to the church. “Then priest-like in my pulpit with a frown, I stand and when the yokels have sat down, I preach, as you’re heard my say before, and tell a hundred lying mockeries more,” (lines 9-12). From this the …show more content…
Chaucer was greatly influenced by a written named Boccaccio, who also used the scaffolding technique. Scaffolding is understood that the author writes whatever he or she wants, which is usually extremely controversial, and then won’t take the blame for it as it wasn’t the author who said it, but the character in the author’s work. This idea is genius! The author gets to say whatever he or she wants but doesn’t get in trouble or blamed for anything. “…Chaucer the poet is lurking behind every pilgrim narrator, so that the narrator 's point of view isn 't the only one. Chaucer is a remarkably clever writer,” (Cynthia C. Werthamer, 2004). From Werthamer the statement is made on how Chaucer “hides” behind his characters and doesn’t take the blame for anything they say. Two of the most controversial characters in his work are the Pardoner and the Wife of Bath. Chaucer gets to voice his opinion behind these radical characters. “The two grandest of Chaucer 's characters are Alice, the Wife of Bath, exuberantly erotic vitalist, and the Pardoner, perhaps a eunuch, a charlatan selling spurious religious relics and indulgences for sin,” (Harold Bloom, 2009). We see that the Wife of Bath is commonly characterized as energetic and very interested in the sexual part of a relationship, which goes against everything that women are supposed to be interested. Women are supposed to hardly be seen and never

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