Cantebury Tales

Cantebury Tales - Mike Badolato Core Humanities Professor...

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Mike Badolato Core Humanities Professor Regan 11/2/05 The Canterbury Tales: A Social Commentary England, in Chaucer's time, was a nation of social and economic growth. Many things were changing in the social structure of England’s community, in both positive and negative ways. Medieval Europeans believed that the ideals of spiritual community, social groups and national interests were greater than individualism. However many of these ideals began to change in this evolving Medieval society. People demanded more voice in the affairs of their society and the traditional ways were being challenged, a more individualized way of life was being emphasized. Many of these social aspects were depicted in Chaucer’s work The Canterbury Tales. Two such aspects, seeming more prevalent than others, were that of corruption in the Catholic Church and the treatment of women in society. This paper will highlight those themes in both The Canterbury Tales and medieval history. Chaucer’s opinion of the Catholic Church becomes obvious in the way he describes the Friar in his story. In the medieval society, where people were very religious, the Friar was respected as God himself. The Friar’s job in the church was to help people, who sinned, by giving them a guide to pray for a certain time so that they
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can receive absolution. But the Friar in the Canterbury Tales was not honest and dedicated to his job. He abused his position by wrongly taking money from people who came to confess. He told them that they would get absolution if they pay him; this wasn’t the only wrong doing by the Friar. He also broke his vow of chastity by having adulterous relationships with women, and broke his vow of poverty by wearing expensive clothes, spending his time with the wealthy. Another important figure of the Church that Chaucer uses in his story is the Pardoner. The two characteristics shown by the Pardoner are greed and hypocrisy. Throughout the prologue and tale, the Pardoner’s greed is very prevalent. " I preach nothing except for gain" (Pardoner's Tale, Line 105). The Pardoner of The Canterbury Tales abused his position by selling very expensive papers which he claimed would shorten their time in purgatory after death. He also claimed that he had relics of St. Peter to sell, which were in reality only pig bones from a previous meal. The Pardoner’s hypocrisy was shown by his teachings and the story he told. Even with his greedy actions the Pardoner continued to preach such ideals as poverty saying, "Avarice is the root of all evil" (Pardoner’s Tale, Line 6). Hypocrisy was also shown when the Pardoner
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2008 for the course CORE 101 taught by Professor Regan during the Spring '08 term at Villanova.

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Cantebury Tales - Mike Badolato Core Humanities Professor...

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