Chaucerian Commentary


Chaucerian Moral and Social Commentary in the Canterbury Tales
As the first great English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer has etched out a tradition of English literary brilliance. From stem to Stern, Chaucer’s cheerful and diverse poetry stands apart from other British writers. Between colorful and humorous verse and tale, Chaucer creates a picture of man in his society. The Canterbury tales, Chaucer’s defining work, integrates Chaucerian whit, paradox and color into a quilt of medieval social strata. Chaucer played not the part of the poet Baird but of the watchful investigator. The Canterbury Tales represent Chaucer’s investigation into the social and moral contradictions ...

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strata that was mostly unacknowledged. The Medieval middle class was neither aristocracy nor Plebian; however, the middle class was increasingly important to medieval society and culture. As the son of a well to do wine merchant, Geoffrey Chaucer lived in close proximity with the lower classes, no doubt becoming quite familiar with the culture and attitudes of the commoners. Perhaps most vital to Chaucer’s ascension into poetic greatness evolved because of his unusual access and acceptance into the upper world of aristocracy. As an adolescent, Chaucer was sent by his father to serve as a page to Lionel of Antwerp. This initiated Chaucer into the world of the nobility to which he became a distinguished honorary member. Chaucer worked in many critical posts for the aristocracy, parliament, and the royal family. Chaucer’s service to the aristocracy provided him with an education and valuable contacts through out parliament and the royal court. It was Chaucer’s ...

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of his own society. Chaucer’s philosophy best described as “humanist, or liberal humanist; it places the individual above history, and esteems the human capacity not to be made but to make history. (Patterson, 1)” This humanist theory is evident through out the tales in which it is Chaucer’s characters spinning the wheels of action and adventure. Those who are naive or foolish enough to trust their lives to the fates find their strings pulled by their adversaries. Chaucer looked at the individual in his setting.
Chaucer’s literature is diverse and satirical. His description of life is often influenced by his intimacy with the aristocracy, yet he still ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 7/14/2004 03:26:17 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1901
Pages: 7

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