The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

216 views 4 pages ~ 979 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a collection of twenty-four narratives depicting different characters that provide a straightforward picture of English medieval society. Certain topics are also discussed in the novel, with hypocrisy and realism playing crucial roles in some of the tales. The element that characters remain true to their convictions in life has become a very intriguing argument, as shown by its presence in a number of stories. Other stories, however, portray a high level of hypocrisy, albeit to a lesser degree. In general, through honesty and sincerity, the author can derive significant aspects regarding medieval society hence showing how society was in the past as a comparison to the present.

The Parson's Tale: Honesty and Forgiveness

In the Parson's Tale, the Parson is represented as an honest and good person. An individual who cares for the well-being of others and who the medieval society usually considered as a respectable person the society. The parson uses penitence with the intention of asking for forgiveness for sins committed along with the accompanying thoughts associated with worldly desires. Likewise, he refers to the Seven Deadly Sins and offers set guidelines and solutions against them. Such aspects show the medieval society as one that acknowledges the good in the community and the art of forgiveness. It is clear through Chaucer that his description of the Parson seems to depict certain aspects of Mother Theresa and Mahatma Gandhi. In such context, it is rare when such a revelation is made to a person or an individual where people from all walks of life will acknowledge that the world needs more of.

The Pardoner's Tale: Hypocrisy and Self-Reflection

In assessing the Pardoner's hypocrisy as well as his subjectivity, some scholars may claim the evidence of hypocrisy through the prior literary performance of the Wife of Bath's Tale. However, this is not the case once an in-depth literary analysis is conducted. The Pardoner's words do not show any indication of his morality. Instead, they only depict his reaction, one filled with mockery, to the performance. A particular section of the poem shows evidence of how poorly the Pardoner fits the hypocritical traits. What is considered true is the fact that he in truth 'moves his lips.' Nonetheless, the interpretation that he moves his lips to indicate his extent of holiness is misleading. He, in fact, does the action as a way of self-condemning himself and hence openly accepting his hypocrisy. In general, all these observations made regarding the Pardoner's Tale support the argument that the characters stay true to their beliefs and stations in life hence disregard the assumption that hypocrisy is appropriately incorporated as a theme in the book.

Hypocrisy and Unpredictable Characters in Medieval Society

A thorough analysis of the book shows that there is minimal evidence of hypocrisy. Most of the characters portray their true intentions, whether good or bad. However, one particular story shows hypocrisy at its finest. The Monk's Tale narrates a different character of monks. According to society's requirements, monks are supposed to be timid and have giving hearts. They should not care about monetary value or the benefits of worldly items. Therefore, the hypocritical aspect is indicated when the monk in the book, Canterbury Tales, does the complete opposite of what is expected. He desires the best food on the land, to wit the actively endeavors to attain the same. Similarly, he is not by any means a soft-spoken, religious person. In other words, the monk's attitude seems to differ largely to his profession. This observed opinion proves that hypocrisy is present in the book but only limited to fewer characters hence drawing the conclusion that medieval society was filled with different people, all with unpredictable characters.

Role of Women in Medieval Society

According to Chaucer, medieval society was slightly different from present times in various circumstances especially women's different roles. Chaucer in his book of tales tells of some women. The senior woman in the Wife of Bath's Tale, in particular, shows a broad perspective of the role of women in the medieval times. This woman represents a large population of women in the past. On the contrary, she also embodies women of the 20th and 21st Century because of the general behaviors even though current lifestyle has changed. The Canterbury Tales outline the Wife of Bath as an honest woman. She is considered by the society as a morally upright woman and also a Christian. She is however in conflict with the same society due to her inability to hide behind words. She speaks the truth, particularly on issues regarding women.


In conclusion, the author uses the aspect of honesty to show the readers that the medieval society was in need of significant approaches such as gender equality. This therefore brings forth the argument that honesty is used countless times to reveal different situations in the medieval society. Throughout the book, there is evidence of some of the characters portraying a sense of hypocrisy to others and to the general way of life, while others are seeing no need of hiding their true characters. Analysis and evidence conclude the argument that sincerity in the book derives crucial aspects regarding medieval society.


Chaucer, Geoffrey. 'The parson's tale.' The Canterbury Tales (1987): 533-596.
Boenig, Robert. 'The Pardoner's Hypocrisy and His Subjectivity.' ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews 13, no. 4 (2000): 9-15.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The wife of Bath's prologue and tale. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
Fletcher, Alan J. 'The Topical Hypocrisy of Chaucer's Pardoner.' The Chaucer Review (1990): 110-126.
Socola, Edward M. 'Chaucer's Development of Fortune in the 'Monk's Tale'.' The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 49, no. 2 (1950): 159-171.
Rigby, Stephen H. 'The Wife of Bath, Christine de Pizan, and the Medieval Case for Women. The Chaucer Review 35, no. 2 (2000): 133-165.

August 09, 2021


Writer #



Expertise Canterbury Tales
Verified writer

Tony is a caring and amazing writer who will help you with anything related to English literature. As a foreign exchange student, I received the best kind of help. Thank you so much for being there for me!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro