Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales
Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer
The Nun's Priest's Tale The Pardonder's Tale The Miller's Tale
The Clerk's Tale The Knight's Tale The Wife Of Bath
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Chaucer & The Canterbury Tales
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   Geoffreyne attribute of an exceptional writer has always been the ability to incorporate the norms and peculiarities that are inherent within the society that is the setting or subject of the writing. Under this definition, Geoffrey Chaucer stood as an exceptional writer of the Medieval era. He writes within the context of the society that was known to him. Medieval Europe is the setting for The Canterbury Tales and other classic work. Chaucer is also able to incorporate the standards, or norms, as well as the characterization of the belief systems and the existing institutions of that society into the action of the Tales.

   Geoffrey Chaucer often depicted the norms of medieval society as the theme and, or, conflict for the stories in The Canterbury Tales. The 'Miller's Tale' deals with a man who has been exposed as a cuckold since he ignores his young wife's infidelities. The next narrator in Chaucer's fictional group tries to salvage the honor of men by recounting a tale of vengeance that culminates in absurd violence when he tries to gain justice by violating the wife and daughter of a miller. "In popular culture cuckolds were sometimes subjected to the ritual of ridicule known as the "charivari," in which a group visits "rough music" or some other strong form of mockery on a chosen victim. Evidently a cruel delight was taken in exposing the cuckold to communal laughter. The Miller's Tale, preceded by a wry discourse on cuckholdry, emanates a spirit of delight. The Reeve, however, takes the jest personally. In the belief that the festivity of the Miller's Tale has been at his own expense (as that of the charivari is at the expense of the victim), he seeks his revenge. Filled with the malice of resentment, the Reeve's Tale features males whose obsession with their own repute, and corresponding dread of derision, reduce the "noble" value of honor to an absurd and violent mania" (Justman 21). Chaucer not only includes the norms of the medieval society but also a common method of cultural sanctioning by including an example of the charivari.

    Although it is not possible to explore all instances of Chaucer's reflection of his own society within the confines of such a relatively small space, this website lists dozens of essays, reports, and model term papers which simplify the complex Medieval literary style, while also offering comparative plot and structural analyses (as well as covering virtually every aspect of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales imaginable to the typical student!). GChaucer.Com also provides in-depth examinations of the unique characters, who continue to bring life to The Canterbury Tales, even though they were created over 600 years ago! In addition, there are essays on this site about life in Medieval England, which consider, among other issues, the role of women, to provide students with a historical perspective of the times in which Chaucer’s poems and stories were written. So browse through our list, read descriptions of our many essays...and find one that will help YOU complete your own term paper ....

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Source Cited: Justman, Stewart. "The Reeve's Tale And The Honor Of Men."
     Studies in Short Fiction, (1995): December, pp. 21(6).

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