The Canterbury Tales

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Satire is something that is very common in the novels and writings of today. It is used to make light of serious situations, as well as point out problems with people or society. The Canterbury Tales are rampant with such satirical comments. Chaucer uses this satire to not only make the reading more intriguing, but also to underscore many social, political and religious mores. Even though he overtly uses this type of satire, Chaucer is able to use it to carefully underscore the problems of that time. He satirizes everything from marriage to religion. More importantly, Chaucer uses his form of satire to point out the problems with every day life during the middle ages. During the time period of The Canterbury Tales, class structure was very rigid. It defined everything that a person was. There are many examples of this throughout the entire text. One of the best examples of this satire can be seen in "The Wife of Bath's Prologue". The wife of bath was a woman that broke all social standards for a woman at that time. She was educated, well-read, and strong minded. Most importantly, she was independent. She looked at men, the same way that men look at women. They were objects of desire and pleasure, and the wife had no problem exploiting that.

Chaucer uses the setting of a pilgrimage to bring all different types of people together. The characters in these tales range from a virtuous knight, to a corrupt pardoner. Although, all of the characters will not be discussed, it is important to note that each of them is a member of a different class. This was definitely done intentionally by the author to prove to the reader that there was a very large disparity in the different classes...