Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay

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Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories in the framing of a pilgrimage of 30 or so pilgrims, ranging in status - a distorted microcosm of the 14th century English society. Using from gentle to scathing satire, he comments on the Catholic Church as one of the most powerful elements in medieval society and its abuse of authority. The portraits of the Prioresse and the Pardoner reflect the corruption in the institutions of the Church and its …show more content…
Her corruption and worldliness is emphasized by the irregularity of the portrait itself. The use of rhyme breaking such as "Eglyntyne" and "dyvyne", "senely" and "fetisely" creates irregularities in the rhythm which are appropriate for the elements of the Prioresse, stressing her flaws as a nun, as well as double stressing on words like "hire grettest ooth" and "ful fetys" and "ful semely".

Further more, this defectiveness is enforced by her typical medieval romance heroine allusion with reference to her beauty through imagery of her broad "fair forheed" and "eyen greye as glas". Her "simple and coyly" smile and flirtation indicate to readers that she conscious of her own accomplishments and beauty and aware of the power play that it gives her. The narrator at last mentions her rosary beads, wearing it as though it were jewelry indulging in the materialistic possessions that a nun should not have. Chaucer concludes the Prioresse's portrait without any reference to her religious duties, with her brooch that says "Amor vincit omnia" meaning "Love conquers all" - Something completely inappropriate for a nun.


Chaucer uses harsh satire in the description of the portrait of the Pardoner. As the last portrait and most significant, he reflects the corruption of the Catholic Church and the inadequacy

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