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THE CANTERBURY TALES Essay, Research Paper

The Canterbury Tales

Chaucer uses satire in the Canterbury Tales to expose his attitude

towards the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages. The first way in which he does this is by satirizing a common nun of the Middle Ages. Chaucer, in The Canterbury Tales, tells of a nun who is supposed to be married to the church. Her attitude towards her appearance should be one of little concern, but instead she primps and spends her time consumed in her vanity. He shows the nun not as someone married to the church, but someone married to herself and her vanity.

Chaucer’s attitude toward the church is one in which he expresses that it is a hypocritcal institution, and has a hint of scorn in his writing. In the tale of the Summoner, Chaucer satirizes the Friar. He shows the friar as a beggar who uses his money not for the betterment of the church, but for the betterment of himself. The Friar begs of a man named Thomas to stop paying all the other friars and to be loyal to him. Thomas is sick, and the Friar blames his illnesses on his unwillingness to give of his pocketbook to the friar. In the end the friar gets what he deserves. In his greed and his impatience he receives the gift of a fart from Thomas. This satire shows his slightly scornful attitude towards the Catholic Church. Chaucer shows us how we, too, have faults, and he uses his sense of humor to make us laugh the characters and at ourselves.


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