The Canterbury Tales Character Analysis Name: Course: Date: The Canterbury Tales Character Analysis The Knight Purpose The knight is among the most looked up to characters in the tales. His purpose within the story is illustrating the ideal course of a person within his or her profession. Within the pilgrimage, the knight becomes the most highly regarded person. He has been in many battles, wars and has served his king with honor (Toshack, 2007). In his course, he adheres to the chivalric code, fought for honor and is courageous. Yet, he is described as gentle and an honest man who stands for the truth, honor and freedom. He treats others with kindness and is humble. Although everybody in the pilgrimage looks up to him, he remains humble and avoids getting into trouble with anybody.
Additionally, even after fighting in several battles he does not brag or praise himself (Toshack, 2007). He is contempt by his stature in life and neither does he seek praise. The knight character portrays an idealistic representation of a person’s profession. Segment in society The knight represents the powerful segment of the society and the noble people within the society illustrated by gentleness. At the time when the tales are set, a knight was a highly trained soldier and powerful as well. They were used by kings in the battles.
Therefore, within the pilgrimage he is highly respected for his status as well as his characters (Toshack, 2007). His language and tale This is reflected in his language where he tells of a tale about the battles he has fought as well as wars. When telling stories, he chooses those that are filled with war contexts such as chivalry, knights, adventure, honor and love amongst others and tells in a gentle voice.
More so, he focuses on honor, good behavior as well as the right conduct in his endeavors. When choosing his hero, he chooses Theseus who was one of the most highly regarded people in the ancient Greek. He was the king in Athens as well as Sophocles, he represented as the ideal king in the Oedipus Trilogy (Toshack, 2007).
This shows him as the ideal embodiment of an ideal noble person with all the noble virtues. The wife of Bath Purpose The wife of Bath is represented as the most delightful character within the tales. She is a good weaver, better than the Ypres and Ghent weavers are. She represents the people within the society that defy the cultural norms that oppress one gender. In this case, she is a woman who believes in the liberation of women from domination of men. Domination of men is shown by the fact that she was married five times (Chaucer & Glaser, 2005). She resisted domination from all the men she had been married to, which contributed to the divorce.
Further, she represents the quest for women to be free. Despite refusing domination from men and marrying a few, she has had numerous affairs with other men during her youth. This shows her determination to live freely just like men. She had also traveled to many destinations such as Rome, Galicia and Bologna. Her wide travels show she has led a good comfortable life as an independent woman (Chaucer & Glaser, 2005). This serves to show that women as well could be independent and do what men could do. This portrays a feministic character within the English literature, probably the first.
Segment in society Her segment in the society presents the oppressed or those regarded to be weaker and expected to be passive but defy this norm. The reason she has been married five times is that she could not allow men to dominate her. She believes in leading an enjoyable life, which was not common for women. Women were expected to be humble and reserved, always subordinates to their men (Chaucer & Glaser, 2005). Wife of Bath does not agree with this norm. She defies the rule and even dominates some of the men she married. She is considered to be within the segment in the society that tends to question cultural norms oppressing one gender. Therefore, she can fit to be in the feministic segment in the society of human rights where she fights against male domination.
Language and tale This is well evidenced by her language and stories. The story she chooses to tell is about allowing women to dominate men. The story she tells starts with when a knight rapes a maiden when he sees her walking from the river. As punishment, the queen asked him to take one year to find out what women desire. For a whole year, the women she asked did not agree with each other. At the end when he was approaching the palace after failing, he saw a ring of beautiful young women only to find out it was a hag. The hag agrees to tell him as long as he will give to her whatever she asks. The answer was that every woman wants to dominate her husband.
This shows her quests to dominate men instead of men dominating women. This is further demonstrated towards the end of the story where the hag prays that all men should agree to be dominated by women, which one can be considered as her prayer. The Parson Purpose The Parson is more like the Knight, portrayed as an idealistic figure. The Parson is depicted as a person who is without satire, ironical tone or even any undertone.
He is full of virtues just as the knight is and a truly diligent, patient, conscientious and devout. His character has been used to show the evil deeds of the priests at the time (Hirsh, 2008). He was devoted to teaching the parish members the values of Christianity. His devotion is demonstrated by his continued dedication to Christianity even in difficult times. He refuses to the idea of banishing the poor parish members from going to church because of failing to pay up their tithe (Hirsh, 2008). This clearly illustrates the evils committed by the priests. He is generous considering he gives a big part of his earnings to the poor even when he had little left.
He is used to portray the imagery of a shepherd tending to his flock considering he was concerned with providing for the needy including giving them medical care. Segment in society The Parson can be placed in the segment of the righteous people within the society or saint considering he was devoted to Christianity including offering help to the needy. He is a role model to the parish members or his flock considering he practices exactly what he teaches or preaches. He can be segmented as a role model within the society since he only seeks to be virtuous and kind to all people including the needy.
He is compassionate and understands the needs of the poor. He is seen as hope by the needy that he helps (Hirsh, 2008). Language and tale He uses language such as that he cannot let his white flock be watched by a dirty shepherd. In this, he meant he could not leave his parishioners to the dirty priests whose work was just to make money by serving the rich. He does take his role seriously and wants to remain holy in order to watch his flock well.
This is evidenced in his tale where he talks about how one should live a good life as a God fearing man (Hirsh, 2008). He talks about sorrowful memories of sins and repentance as the right way to live as well as remembering sorrowfully the good things one failed to do. He is yet another idealized example of a person and his profession. He further serves portraying the evils of the others in the pilgrimage such as the monk and the Friar. The Friar Purpose The Friar is among the corrupt people that are supposed to serve the people but instead use their position in the society to benefit themselves. Although the purpose of the Friar was attacking evil, found in the society through preaching.
Friars are allowed to preach even outside the monastery (Hallissy, 1995). The Friar claims that he knows many of the rich and powerful men of his town. He says that he posses more power than a Parson does, hence he is in better position to listen to confessions. He further suggests that he is better since he can grant pardon for sins as long as one offers a big offering.
In this, he is portrayed as a corrupt person who is supposed to serve the people but instead only seeks to benefit himself. Additionally, he engages in other sins such as seducing young village girls with their sweat talking. His purpose is to show how leaders especially religious engage in evil actions while they preach otherwise. Segment in the society The segment of the Friar in the society is among the powerful and corrupt. At this time or during the middle ages, Friars were very influential considering they served a wide region beyond monasteries.
The followers or members would have to pay to church the tithe that was considered tax since the church was in charge. However, instead of using this money to help the needy as the Parson did, the Friar would use it to his benefit. This represents him as a powerful corrupt person within the society, only considering his or her own gain through oppressing the poor and weak as well as ignorant. It was not a wonder to see them convincing a widow to give away all her money (Hallissy, 1995). Language and tale His language evidences his corrupt deeds where he says that he is familiar with the rich since he goes around extorting money from people. When it comes to telling a story, he tells an uncomplimentary story about the Summoner who goes around extorting money and one day made a contract with the devil.
They swore to be brothers to their day of death. However, when the Summoner asks for bribe from a rich widow, she refuses to give him until the Summoner threatens to take her new frying pan (Hallissy, 1995). She wishes the devil to take him to hell unless he repents. Refusing to repent, the devil drags him to hell. This tale illustrates that in his thoughts, the only thing he thinks about is extorting money from people. He has no good tale to tell.
References Chaucer, G., & Glaser, J. (2005). The Canterbury Tales In Modern Verse.
Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing. Hallissy, M. (1995). A Companion to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. New York, N.
Y: Greenwood Publishing Group. Hirsh, J. C. (2008). Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales: A Short Introduction. Hoboken N.J: John Wiley & Sons. Toshack, H.
S. (2007). The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales: A Workbook Edition The Wordsmith Guides.
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