The Canterbury Tales Essay

Passion and devotion are emphasized throughout, and the spiritual dimension of love is valued above the physical.

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer was published in 1478, nearly 78 years after his death.

It is a work of 24 different tales written by a group of people traveling to Canterbury on a pilgrimage to see the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket, the martyr.

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The tales also vary, illustrating popular medieval genres: romance, fable, saint’s life, fabliau (a coarse, comic tale), exemplum (a story designed to illustrate the theme of a sermon).

Chaucer the pilgrim burlesques a type of popular romance, but his satirical purpose goes unrecognized and the Host will not allow him to finish.You can experience the sights, sounds and smells of medieval England; a unique and theatrical introduction to Canterbury and its famous literary connection. Here you will meet the first of your costumed guides who’ll prepare you for your pilgrimage to Canterbury.As you leave your guide to walk alongside Chaucer’s pilgrims, you will find yourself in the midst of a story-telling contest.Consider comic timing, plot intricacy, and the cast of characters within the tale. Compare the ideals of courtly love in the Knight’s Tale with those in the Wife of Bath’s Tale. Courtly love was one of the most pervasive themes in the literature of Chaucer’s time.While Chaucer presents a fairly traditional picture of courtly love at the beginning of the Knight’s Tale, he goes on to deconstruct the concept by introducing elements of jealousy, gender conflict, and lust as the various tales progress.By the end of the Nun’s Priest’s Tale, it is clear that, as an idealized concept, courtly love cannot be applied to relationships where real human emotions are concerned.Several modern translations of the poem are available, but to master Chaucer’s Middle English repays the effort.Many editions and introductions summarize handily his spelling, pronunciation, and grammar. The Knight’s Tale presents ideal characters for a story of courtly love.Chaucer draws on pastoral and divine imagery to present Emelye as the perfectly feminine love object, comparing her beauty to fresh May flowers and her singing to that of heavenly angels.


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