Religion In The Canterbury Tales Essay

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In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer brings characters with somewhat strange or distorted religious practices that go against the norm of Christianity at that time. He tries to show that religion is a motivator, a reassurance, and something to chase after. However, it is not the shaper of your life. It’s the goal, but not the reality. If someone acts in a non-religious way, it is not an obvious implication that they are completely non-religious or that they are horrible people for not practicing their religion to the letter. Chaucer seems to dismiss this as silly, believing instead that it is the whole of their character that determines them as a person. Not only this, but he encourages them to go against certain parts of their religion in order …show more content…
He expresses these points through many characters in this book; the Wife of Bath is proud of who she is, even if she goes against religious laws, and is still very devoted to religion, the Pardoner, though he’s a fraud, manages to be a decent human being by being honest, while being homosexual, and three religious figures, the Monk, the Prioress, and the Friar, all sin or are not visibly that religious despite their positions as spiritual figures. The Wife of Bath has a commanding presence to her fellow pilgrims. She steers her own way through religion and remains herself as she does. A good example of her maintaining her personal identity is one of the key parts of her character; she has married and been with many men. This directly violates these two Christian morals: monogamy and chastity. The Wife of Bath justifies the many husbands and lovers that she’s had by simply saying that God commanded humans to reproduce. Why, then, is it negative for her to have sex with many men and potentially reproduce more as a result of it? She uses sex not only to please herself, but also to fulfill the commandment that God gave her (259). The Wife of Bath, personally, is very clearly not chaste. She enjoys and relishes in decadent amounts of sex.

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