Society's Role In Society In The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer

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Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer tells of the journey of twenty-nine pilgrims to St. Thomas Becket of Canterbury’s shrine, in order to be healed. To pass the time, they all decide to have a competition and tell two stories on the way to and on the way back from Canterbury. Before telling their tale, the reader is introduced to each and every character and learn of the character’s background, social status, and overall appearance. Geoffrey Chaucer does the prior in order to give the reader an idea of society’s view on each pilgrim and their role in society. In Chaucer's novel, Canterbury Tales is a snapshot of the views of society at the time on the topics of nobility, women and sexuality, and religion. From these views, the reader can learn …show more content…
For example, the Wife of Bath has had five husbands since the age of twelve which previously in this time would not have been acceptable. Later, in the Wife of Bath’s story, this cultural shift is further expanded upon when the women are given authority and power over their husbands. An example of this is when the King, “gave the Queen the case and granted her his life, and she could choose whether to show him mercy or refuse,” (Chaucer 282). Until this point, women had little say in everyday life, let alone the power over a person’s life. Also, as the moral of the Wife of Bath’s story depicts, “a woman wants the self-same sovereignty over her husband as over her lover,” and this is parallel to the views of society at the time regarding women and their influence in the world (Chaucer 286). Since Chaucer includes this story of the Wife of Bath, it shows his acceptance of the change from a solely patriarchal society to a more equal lifestyle. Another altering aspect of society during the time that Canterbury Tales was written involves religious beliefs and …show more content…
During the fourteenth century, there were a vast array of cultural changes and shifts in social classes, the role of women, and the Church, all of which are depicted throughout the course of Canterbury Tales. Nobility and the rise of the middle class is highlighted in the prologue in which Chaucer introduces the characters in order of their social rank. Also, the increase in the role of women is depicted in the Wife of Bath’s prologue and story where the moral is that women equal authority over men. Last but not least, the corruption of the Church after the Black Plague is emphasized through the Pardoner’s hypocritical tale. From these views, it is made clear of Chaucer’s dislike for the Church’s officials and the social hierarchy of the time. Through Chaucer’s novel, Canterbury Tales is able to assimilate all of the culture and society during the fourteenth

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