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Cant. Tales - How Chaucer's Characters Reveal Corruption in...

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How Chaucer’s Characters Reveal Corruption in the Church The Canterbury Tales was the first collection of short stories in English. Geoffrey Chaucer, the Father of English literature, wrote it in the late 1300s. The Canterbury Tales was written during great religious change. It is important because it revealed corruption in the Church. The General Prologue is the backbone of The Canterbury Tales . It sets up the story and introduces the characters. The prologue begins with twenty-nine pilgrims meeting at the Tabord Inn. They plan to embark on a sixty-four mile journey to the famous Becket shrine in Canterbury. However, when reading, you find that most of the pilgrims are going for social, not religious reasons. Although Chaucer did not clearly state the corruption of the Church, he reveals their corruption through his satirical descriptions of the characters in the General Prologue . To better understand The Canterbury Tales, it’s important to realize how corrupt the Church really was. One scholar put it this way, “The light of the faith grows dim; the clergy are mostly ignorant, quarrelsome, idle, and unchaste.” (Coulton 251) Many believe that the tales have a strong element of truth, and Chaucer’s idea for the book came from his experiences in everyday life. The pilgrims “have the quality of real people in that they are not totally defined.” (Anthony, “Chaucer and Religion“ n.pag.) Basically, the Church had gained too much power. It influenced almost every part of life. Everyone was a member, and people gave loyalty to the Church over the king. The Church slowly began to take the place of government.
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