The Protestant Reformation In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

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The thunderous fall of Constantinople ended the Medieval Period in Europe and launched the Early Modern Period. The era transition caused a gradual shift in religion, politics, and society. The works of several intellectuals sparked controversy, making many Europeans feverish. Some were poisoned with dangerous ideas, while others spotted corruption and made reform. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales exposes the radical Catholicism of Europe during Medieval times, which essentially ran the political system. However, the Dark Ages left Europe vulnerable, both intellectually and physically. The impetuosity of theologian Martin Luther, revealed in On The Freedom of A Christian, throws Europe into the abyss of the Protestant Reformation. Luther's principle …show more content…
Dante's Divine Comedy follows the spiritual-journey of "Dante the Pilgrim" through Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. Pilgrimages were popular religious practices at the time. People ventured off to holy-shrines to show devotion to their faith. Churches taxed people, giving the institution massive amounts of prosperity. This leads the Church to build massive Cathedrals, with intricate architectural elements and illuminated with stained glass windows. Although Europeans learned from illustrations on stained glass windows, relics they touched, clergymen's sermons, and music in the vernacular, they were not able to first-handedly read the source of their faith, the Bible. Practically everyone, from the king to the lowliest serf, was illiterate. However, clergymen had the ability to read and write, making the church an oasis of education. The Church intoxicated Christians to practice faith through sacraments, offering indulgences as penance, and giving monetary compensations. However, when Black Death hit Europe, people began to notice even those who followed the Church …show more content…
For some, the "epidemic turned pandemic" (Aberth 1) was "proof of the righteous judgement of God visited upon sinful humanity – the clergy, among them." Others "could not understand why humanity deserved such awful punishments." The dominant response was people "seeking solace and hope in prayers and processions led by clergy" (Aberth 94). Often, when people sought help from priests, they ignored them. Many "could not be found to care for people, perhaps because they were infected or had a fear of being infected" (Aberth 95). The archbishop of Canterbury castigated these priests, and accused them of "unbridled greed" (Aberth 104). However, many priests died during the Black Death. "45% of the priests in 10 dioceses throughout England died during the height of the pestilence," exposing their mortality and lack of true superiority (Aberth 95). After the plague, peasants started becoming aware of the corrupt Church-led government. They began demanding more rights and started to rebel. Gradually, the Medieval era began to shift into a renaissance, bringing new ideas

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