Chaucer's Satire of the Upper Class free essay sample
A study of Chaucer’s classic literary work, `Canterbury Tales `.
This paper examines the Middle English literary work by Geoffrey Chaucer, `The Canterbury Tales`. It explores the lives of a group of religious pilgrimage travelers whose paths have crossed on their journey of personal growth. The author writes that the `The Canterbury Tales` teach moral lessons through illustrating the attempts of upper class and religious figures to maintain a clean outer appearance, and at the same time, Chaucer provides us with a look at their inner virtues, or lack thereof.
`The Character of the Wife of Bath tells of treachery and wifely virtues. In the General Prologue we find that on the outside, the Wife appears to be a well-educated, upper class worldly woman of high outwardly virtue and standards. `Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground/I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound/That on a sonday weren upon hir heed.
/Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,`(General Prologue, 453-456). This is a clear picture of her outward appearance. She has fine cloth, which she wears to church on Sunday. Scarlet was a color used to signify wealth and piety. She indeed gives the outward appearance of a perfect wife. However, we also discover that she has had five husbands. At the time of the Canterbury Tales, this practice would be looked upon with suspicion. Divorce and marriage had to be condoned by the church and it would be highly unusual for a woman to be allowed five husbands. In the General Prologue, doubt is cast as to her piety.`