Monday, September 28, 2009

Canterbury Tales instilling morals

            The Canterbury Tales are a series of short stories which Chaucer uses to depict corruption in the Church and the morals, or lack there of, of those participating in the pilgrimage.  Throughout the tales irony as well as immense imagery is used to prove points and convey the moral in each story. 

            In “The Miller’s Tale” humor helps to convey the story of a married woman who is wooed by others and is not faithful to her husband.  Nicholas is the first man who attempts to win over Allison; he is studying astrology, this trait is an innuendo, the stars are comparable to God’s secrets, which he probes.  The fact that he is ultimately unsuccessful with Allison is a direct result of his inquiring too privately into God’s private. 

            In “the Prologue”, the Franklin is described as “the patron Saint of Hospitality”, ironically, he is not saintly at all, rather, he lives a life of overindulging rather than one of few material possessions.  His tale also involves a sort of love triangle; Arverigus and Dorigen are married just a short period of time when Arverigus must leave.  Dorigen is in a state of depression and tells a squire (who is madly in love with her), that she will be his lover if he is able to remove the rocks which she thinks threatens her husbands return.  He eventually is able to do so and Dorigen is troubled with having to keep her promise, her husband agrees she must do so and in the end the squire is so overwhelmed by their true love he breaks off the deal. 

            The Canterbury Tales were implemented to keep the members of a pilgrimage entertained.  Each person would tell a tale and eventually, the best one would receive a prize.  Sidney notes that there are three general headings which poetry falls under; the “first he notes by turning to history itself that poetry was the first educator, second, he claims that poetry is able to present reality and human experience with reality in a more vivid and persuasive form, and third, he notes the moral value of poetry as a formative molder and enlarger of the human mind and character”  (3).  The Canterbury Tales fall into all three categories, it indeed tells of the corruption in the church at the time as well as presents reality and the moral in the stories and the point of the stories in general were meant to make people of the time aware of their actions and the consequences of them.  

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