The Journey: The Canterbury Tales - Essay Example

Only on StudentShare

Extract of sample
The Journey: The Canterbury Tales

As he continues to present opposing viewpoints through his mixed company of pilgrims, Chaucer presents a story about the journey of religion up to this point and what it was intended to mean for the average person. Rather than being an individual journey of spiritual enlightenment, Chaucer suggests that the experience of religion is something that must be shared with others and explored from a variety of approaches before one can claim they have experienced religion. Chaucer’s conception of religion as a journey shared by many people is evident in the idea of the journey itself, in which all travelers are brought to the same level despite other social constructions; the activities of the journey as each individual is required to tell two tales as a means of passing the time; and the lessons learned within these tales as they are often placed side by side with an opposing viewpoint.
The fact that the journey begins for all of the individuals contained within the story as a pilgrimage places the reader’s mind in the context of religious concerns and brings all of the players to a level playing field. They are on their way to visit the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket, a saint who was venerated for standing up for the rights of the church against the might of the royalty in a battle between the secular and the religious. In this, the saint was following his own interpretation of what the church stood for and a willingness to share that vision with others, explore it and make concessions where possible. This is the idea that Chaucer seems to be trying to communicate within his journey. The various individuals who undertake the pilgrimage come from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as the knight and the miller, the wife of Bath and the prioress, each coming from varying social and economic class systems with differing levels of involvement with ‘urban’ society as it existed at that time. In ...
Download paper


Thomas a Becket, in the town of Canterbury. However, this idea is sometimes lost by the reader as the many tales told by the individuals undertaking the journey are…
Author : branson58

Related Essays

Chaucers The Canterbury Tales
The Prioress, the Nun, the Monk and the Pardoner are characteristic religious figures in Chaucer's work, and by creating ironies between their characterizations and their duties, Chaucer expresses this corruption. "[Chaucer] considers the historical position of the pilgrims and the social position and power each thereby embodies. In the last section he presents Christianity as the shaping force of society" (Fehrenbacher, 1994). He depicts that throughout the years of evolution, man has maintained and generated newer ways of making his fellow beings uncomfortable. Though this is not always done...
4 pages (1004 words) Book Report/Review
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
The different characters and their tales are introduced by the poet in a prologue which serves as an introduction to the overall theme of the work as well. In a profound analysis of the general prologue as well as the individual stories, it becomes lucid that the poet has been careful in introducing the major themes in the prologue and developing them through the various tales of the work. Therefore, a careful reader of the various tales in the book easily identifies the arrangement of different significant themes throughout the work. The most important themes of the various tales in the...
4 pages (1004 words) Book Report/Review
Canterbury Tales and Chaucer
Generally, the Prologue acts as the introduction to the different characters and their tales. However, it is obvious that the Prologue has a more important function of introducing the major themes of the work which are present in the various tales of the work. In other words, the poet introduces not only the major characters and tales in the Prologue, but also the various themes of the entire work which can be identified in the different tales. Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales which comprises of two dozen stories displays remarkable diversity in genre, source materials, characters and themes....
5 pages (1255 words) Book Report/Review
Geoffrey Chaucers Canterbury Tales
It is generally recognised that Chaucer's portraits, like his settings and other extended uses of description, work deeply into themes and plots of the narrative. The Miller's Tale, along with The Reeve's Tale, has been greatly celebrated as the best example of Chaucer's so-called fabliaux and it clearly reflects the poet's application of the rhetorical style to stories of low life. As Charles Muscatine asserts, the effect of Chaucer's portraits is greatly influenced by devices such as the placement or suppression of details and the "portrait of Alisoun in The Miller's Tale depends on a...
4 pages (1004 words) Book Report/Review
The Canterbury Tales Literary Analysis
rough the eye of the narrator, who is a pilgrim himself, apparently ready to appreciate his companions for their worthiness, and also record their condition, their array, and their social degree: “To telle yow al the condicioun/Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,/And whiche they weren, and of what degree,/And eek in what array that they were inne;” The narrator took his “tyme and space” to relate his story which means that that he has considered his subjects for a period before putting their descriptions on paper, and his portrayals derive as much from his observation as his individual...
5 pages (1255 words) Essay
1)Compare the ARGUMENTS of Hoffman and Knight about the General Prolog of the Canterbury Tales and discuss how their arguments and/or your comparison might help us understand something about EITHER Englishness or pilgrimage.
According to Hoffman, critics of the Canterbury tales agree that portraits in the General Prologue are like “figures in a tapestry”. Commonplace about these portraits is the design of unity which has come out due to the outer body structure of the pilgrimage to Canterbury, as described by Chaucer, “Of sondry folk…In felaweshipe, and pilgrims were they alle”. According to Hoffman, the very fact that it is a pilgrimage is defined in the starting of the verse, here life is growing and flourishing where the pilgrims come together at the Tabard inn of Southwalk to visit the shrine of...
4 pages (1004 words) Essay
Primary Research Paper on the Canterbury Tales and Their Historical References
onal accounts, designed to pass the time on the journey but real people, including authors and kings, and real places such as Flanders, France and of course Canterbury, and a few significant events are mentioned which allow us to fix the work in its time and place. In addition to those verifiable details, it is possible also to read between the lines and see how many of the stories do in fact link to actual historical events, even though they do it through indirect means such as parody or allegory.
3 pages (753 words) Research Paper
Got a tricky question? Receive an answer from students like you! Try us!