The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

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The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, is an iconic work of British literature representative of the Middle Ages. In it, a group of travelers tells twenty-four different stories, which each reveal something about their storyteller and audience. Throughout the poem, these revelations provide commentary on the social class system in England of Chaucer’s time; Chaucer’s creativity in the Pardoner’s section of the work allows him to demonstrate several observations about these interactions between the clergy and the commoners. Before examining these perspectives, it is important to consider the historical context of the text; without it, the significance of Chaucer’s work cannot fully be grasped. Chaucer lived between approximately the years 1343 and 1400, and grew up in a merchant’s family (“Geoffrey” 189). Because his father interacted with people of all backgrounds as part of his trade, Chaucer would have heard many languages spoken and have witnessed interactions between very different people during his childhood. As a teenager, he became a page to an aristocratic family, where he learned about life in the wealthiest class of European society (“Geoffrey” 189). This situation completed his education in the culture of his society and enabled him to understand the viewpoints of many different people. It was these varied experiences and his extensive knowledge of literature that gave Chaucer a good understanding of the European social class system of his time and inspired…

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