Essay by masroorahmdkhan83University, Master'sA+, March 2012

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Canterbury Tales


Throughout the Canterbury Tales you get a sense that Geoffrey Chaucer is arguing for the reform of the medieval church. You can see this in the way he uses some of his characters to incite some of the negative values of the church into his book. He knew that this would be a risky move, so knowingly he used a frame narrative instead of a direct narrative or some other method of writing, in which the ideas in the literature would be linked and accredited to him and be used against him by the church. It was heresy to oppose the church in any way, and I'm sure he still went though some trouble with the ideas in this book in relation to the church, although the safety net of the frame narrative he uses so well probably helped him.

Two characters that illustrated his opposition to the church and how things were being done are the Pardoner and the Wife of Bath. By presenting two problems with the church, Chaucer uses both the Pardoner and the Wife of Bath to oppose the ideas of the church of his time (Chaucer & Pitt-Taylor, 2010, 250-251).


First we can compare and contrast the two subjects, the Pardoner and the Wife of Bath. We will look at the similarities first. We can clearly see that the Pardoner and the Wife of Bath both present a criticism of the church of the time. The Pardoner wasn't exactly a...