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Week 6 Discussion

The Canterbury Tales

Unlike reading Beowulf which was written in ‘Old English’ and was very hard and frustrating to read because of its ample digressions of stories within stories, reading The Canterbury Tales was at least one degree less painful! As I was reading ‘The Canterbury Tales’, which was written in Middle English, although the poetic form at first seemed intimidating, reading out loudly actually helped me recognize many modern equivalents of words used in the tale. ‘Knyght’ was such a word. What was also hilarious to notice was the pronunciation of the word ‘knight’ which in Middle English is spelled ‘knyght’, and it’s actually pronounced ‘kenicht’. There were also many lines which meant as it is: for example, the verse ‘Never yet no villainy didn’t’ basically means what it states.

The Canterbury Tales is more than an estate satire in light of the fact that it effectively criticizes even to the point of parody, the main social classes of that time. The opening line with which the narrator starts the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales involves many symbolism. The narrator portrays that spring season is recharging and resurrecting it after April’s sweet showers have infiltrated the dry earth of March, hydrating the roots, which thus urge blossoms out of the ground. The group of stars Taurus is in the sky and the warm, delicate west breeze has revived the fields etc. The narrator states that after the long rest of winter, individuals start to blend, wanting to “goon on journeys,” or to go to a site where one venerates a holy person’s relics as a method for profound purifying and restoration. In a way, pilgrimages joined spring time with religious purification. Thus, the pilgrims set off to visit shrines at this time to distant holy lands, but even more chose to travel to Canterbury to visit the relics of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, where they thank the martyr for having helped them when they were in need. This was the case for the narrator and the pilgrims involved in the Canterbury Tale.

Religious corruption is one of the biggest subjects in The Canterbury Tales. The primary thought in the corruptible characters is by all accounts that they are very engrossed with something secular to invest much of their time in faith. For instance, the Friar is more centered on cash and horses than dealing with his monastery. He likewise likes to seduce ladies, and then find them spouses to keep from getting stuck in an unfortunate situation. Then, the Prioress is engrossed endeavoring to be the court woman, rather than attempting to help her convent. The Pardoner similarly is glad for his capacity to get coin for giving physical acquittals to sins, and he even tries to sell his relics to the pilgrims who are on the way to see a shrine of a martyr. The Monk, who should vow his life to poverty, rather takes cash for forgiveness, declines to help poor people, and pays different beggars so that they leave certain regions for the monk. Chaucer though does portray two more pilgrims, the Parson and the Plowman who unlike many of the corrupt pilgrims, stand out as rare examples of Christian ideals. Throughout The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer also seems to question the popularity of courtly love in his own culture, and to highlight the contradictions between courtly love and Christianity.

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