Canterbury Tales By Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucerís Canterbury Tales is a story of nine and twenty pilgrims
traveling to Canterbury, England in order to visit the shrine of St. Thomas A.

Becket. The General Prologue starts by describing the beauty of nature and of
happy times, and then Chaucer begins to introduce the pilgrims. Most of

Chaucerís pilgrims are not the honorable pilgrims a reader would expect from
the beautiful opening of the prologue, and instead they are pilgrims that
illustrate moral lessons. In the descriptions of the pilgrims, Chaucerís
language and wit helps to show the reader how timeless these character are.

Chaucer describes his pilgrims in a very kind way, and he is not judgmental.

Each of these pilgrims has a trade, and in most cases, the pilgrims use their
trade in any possible way to benefit themselves. By using our notion of
stereotypes, and counter stereotypes, Chaucer teaches us many moral lessons
about religion and money. Chaucerís moral lessons start while he is
introducing the pilgrims. These pilgrims are not from the same social stations
in life, and instead they range anywhere from a rich lady from Bath to a drunken
miller. It is nice to think twenty nine people with different social classes can
all join together and go on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, but this is not likely
in todayĎs society. This idea helps not only to show Chaucerís religious and
platonic view, but also how society should be accepting and look at each other
the way Chaucer does in the General Prologue. Each of the pilgrims Chaucer
describes can be considered timeless characters with timeless moral problems,
since people today still display these characteristics. Chaucer describes all of
the pilgrims; however, some characterís moral problems stand out more so than
others do. The Prioress, the Monk, the Friar, the Franklin, the Wife of Bath,
the Summoner and the Pardoner are all characters that have valuable lessons to
teach us through their behavior and through Chaucerís wit. The most obvious
problem with these characters is that they are not at all who a reader would
think they are. Chaucer shows the characters faults in a diplomatic way, and
these faults are apparent through the description in the General Prologue. The

Prioress, also known as Mme.Eglantine, is the mother superior at her nunnery. By
saying she is the superior at her nunnery, the impression is that she must be a
devout lady who loves God, however, this is not the case. She is a very proper
lady who sings through her nose, loves her lap dogs and eats with impeccable
manners. As Chaucer describes, "She was so charitable and so pitous," she
even cried when she saw a dead mouse (p. 218). She had an impressive forehead
and a gold broach which said "Amor vincit omnia," which means love conquers
all (p. 219). Her engraved broach seems to speaks more of secular love than of

Godly love, (Godly love in Latin is Amour Dei) (class discussion). This prioress
is much more concerned with manners and demonstrating her demureness than
showing her love for God. Her broach demonstrates what she thinks is most
important. Chaucer ends with this, and the reader realizes that her love for God
should be what is most important to her. The next character we learn from also
holds a position in the Church, the Monk. This religious servant, like the nun,
also loves something before God; this man loves the outdoors and hunting. In
this case, the reader usually pictures a monk as someone who really loves God
and devout in his religious studies, but the monk is a very different case.

Studying inside the cloister or working with his hands was out of the question;
riding is much more his style. He has the finest horses with decorated saddles,
and he also uses the churchís money for racing greyhounds. He has spared no
expense for his clothes or his meals. Chaucer elegantly shows how materialistic
this monk is; it seems he cares more for hunting and racing than he does for

God. Another religious figure is the Friar, who is the one the most corrupt of
the religious pilgrims. A Friar is not high in the Church, but nonetheless they
have a duty to be of good moral standards and help anyone who comes to them;
this Friar is not the typical stereotype. Today, He is of good nature and as

Chaucer said "ful wel biloved," liked by all (p. 220). He is very familiar
with Franklins (who were rich landowners) and with the young women. In fact, he
has found