Canterbury Tales Essay

994 words - 4 pages

Nominalism is the belief that signifiers, appearances, and perceived, sensed reality have no weight and do not show the deeper truth. In The Canterbury Tales, especially in the Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer affirms nominalism. In the Pardoner’s Prologue, the Pardoner admits that he is not who he appears to be and that his relics are fake. In his paradoxical tale, the Pardoner condemns the vice of avarice, which he is guilty of practicing. Although the tale means what it appears to mean about morality, for the Pardoner, the words he speaks have no moral value. Chaucer not only affirms nominalism in the Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale but also in other parts of the book, such as in the disclaimers by various narrators. In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer uses his characters and their tales to affirm nominalism.
The Pardoner is a noble ecclesiastic who sells indulgences. Being a man of the church, he appears to be holy, pious, and better than common people, but in reality, he is no less of a sinner than anyone else. In his prologue, he admits that he is deceitful and that his relics are not authentic. He says his “intention is to win money, not at all to cast out sins”, and he would never “intentionally live in poverty” (Chaucer 511-513). He preaches arrogantly to dissemble his true intentions. His social status as a pardoner is true in name only. An authentic pardoner would live like the apostles and care about helping sinners, but the Pardoner admits to wanting “money, wool, cheese, and wheat, even if it is given by the poorest page, or the poorest widow in a village, although her children will die of starvation” (513). Chaucer reveals through the Pardoner that people are not who they seem.
The relationship between the Pardoner’s Prologue and the Pardoner’s Tale also shows nominalism. The Pardoner’s Tale represents the sermons the Pardoner gives. The theme of his tale is “the love of money is the root of all evil” which is the same theme he uses in his sermons (507). He is a successful pardoner because he can tell moral tales without being moral himself. This is possible because of nominalism. If Chaucer were proving realism, the Pardoner would either be a holy, moral person, and could only tell moral tales, or the Pardoner would be immoral and would not be able to tell moral tales. However, Chaucer is proving nominalism, so the Pardoner appears to be different from who he actually is and is able to tell a useful and moral tale.
The Pardoner’s Tale reveals the hypocrisies in life because the Pardoner condemns avarice, yet he practices it. In the tale, the three men encounter death because of their love for gold. The Pardoner also has a love for money, refusing to live in poverty and willing to take money from a poor...

Find Another Essay On Canterbury Tales

canterbury tales Essay

1566 words - 7 pages Historically, pilgrimages have been taken as a religious experience, where people pay homage to God. As the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales go to Canterbury to view the shrine of St. Thomas Becket, the pilgrims are asked to tell moral stories as a means of passing time. As the individuals tell these tales, they reveal their duplicitous nature that are embedded within these tales. The Pardoner reveals his paradoxical nature: someone

Canterbury Tales Essay

830 words - 3 pages Chaunticleer: Behind the Rooster In the book Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, gives us a stunning tale about a rooster named Chaunticleer. Chaunticleer, who is the King of his domain in his farmland kingdom. Like a King, he quotes passages from intellectuals, dreams vivid dreams, has a libido that runs like a bat out of hell, and is described as a very elegant looking Rooster. He has every characteristic of a person belonging to the

Canterbury Tales

773 words - 4 pages There is great concern presented in Chaucer’s Wife of Bath story that women are painted in a negative light as a result of men having written these classic stories; it is argued that women would have authored these stories differently and in such a way that women would be perceived in a different light. The purpose of this paper is to review The Knight’s Tale as it is found in the Canterbury Tales and establish whether Hippolyta is portrayed in

Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

929 words - 4 pages Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer comments on moral corruption within the Roman Catholic Church. He criticizes many high-ranking members of the Church and describes a lack of morality in medieval society; yet in the “Retraction,” Chaucer recants much of his work and pledges to be true to Christianity. Seemingly opposite views exist within the “Retraction” and The Canterbury Tales. However, this

Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

1287 words - 5 pages Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales The Knight, Squire, Prioress, The Monk and the Friar are defined by their settings in Geoffrey Chaucer’s "Prologue" to The Canterbury Tales. 1. Portnoy says in his article in the Chaucer Review that "The General Prologue is like a mirror reflecting the individuals appearance which then defines the character of that person."(281) 2. Scanlon backs up Portnoy in his article from Speculum by saying

The Canterbury Tales

710 words - 3 pages The Canterbury Tales “The Prologue to The Canterbury Tales” were told during a pilgrimage journey from London to the shrine of the martyr St. Thomas a Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. This was approximately 70 miles to the southeast. These Tales were told by a group of 29 pilgrims, and a Host who met up with them at the Tabard Inn. They left the Inn on the morning of April, 11. The Nun’s Priest Tale was the first story actually told

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

2104 words - 8 pages very same aspect in one way or another. In Chaucer’s Canterbury tales, Chaucer satirizes the corruption Catholic Church and those associated. Chaucer saw that hypocrisy polluted the pureness of the church and expressed his disillusionment through the use of satire. Fearless of discommunication Geoffrey Chaucer, the father of satire, dared to speak openly of the absolute corruption of the medieval church. Medieval society was centered on the

The Canterbury Tales

1178 words - 5 pages Essay on the middle ages The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer Explore the use Chaucer makes of parody by referring to at least two tales. Chaucer’s book “The Canterbury Tales” presents a frame story written at the end of the 14th century that is set through a group of pilgrims participation in a story-telling contest that they make up to entertain each other while they travel to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Because of

"The Canterbury tales"

1036 words - 4 pages Medieval FeudalismGeoffrey Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales as a social commentary of feudalism in mediaeval England. He moved literature beyond the themes of courtly love and knightly adventure that dominated the many medieval tales called romances. Geoffrey Chaucer's earlier life growing up gave him an advantage point for observing all kinds of people. He was the son of a wine merchant, which put him into the merchant class that was adding

Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales

1268 words - 5 pages Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales are a series of entertaining stories told along a religious pilgrimage from London to Canterbury. Each of the tales are related by a different member of the traveling group and represents their views on the society they live in. One pilgrim tells most of the tales about another, and either praises them or accuses them as a fraud or a sinner. These tales are actually much more than just entertaining stories

CANTERBURY Tales Pes

529 words - 2 pages Running Head: CANTERBURYCanterbury[Writer Name][Institute Name]CanterburyIntroductionGeoffrey ChaucerGeoffrey Chaucer first main work was "The Book of the Duchess", His other works include "Parlement of Foules", "Troilus and Criseyde" and "The Legend of good Women". He began his most popular and fame work in 1387 "The Canterbury Tales" in which to pass the time on pilgrimage a various group of people recount stories to Canterbury (Crampton, 2006

Similar Essays

Canterbury Tales Essay

1007 words - 4 pages Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and European Life The Canterbury Tales is a collection of short stories put together in the late 1380's and early 1390's by Geoffrey Chaucer. The book is based in stories told by a group of thirty English pilgrims making a pilgrimage from Southwark, London to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury. In choosing a pilgrimage, "Chaucer came very close to the very core of the life of his times"

Canterbury Tales Essay

578 words - 2 pages CANTERBURY TALES ESSAY The Canterbury Tales have many hidden views in them. The one of the common views in the "General Prologue", "The Miller's Tale", and "The Reeve's Tale" is gender roles. Chaucer's views on gender roles have changed greatly when compared to present day because the responsibilities of not only men but also women have changed. The roles back in Chaucer's time were, if someone cheated on their mate it

Canterbury Tales Essay 1260 Words

1260 words - 5 pages The Canterbury TalesThe Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories set within a framing storyof a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, the shrine of Saint Thomas à Becket.The poet joins a band of pilgrims, vividly described in the General Prologue, whoassemble at the Tabard Inn outside London for the journey to Canterbury.Ranging in status from a Knight to a humble Plowman, they are a microcosm of14th- century English society.The Host

Canterbury Tales Essay

627 words - 3 pages Corruption in the Church      Chaucer lived in a time dictated by religion and religious ideas in which he uses The Canterbury Tales to show some of his views. Religion played a significant role in fourteenth-century England and also in Chaucer’s writing. His ideas of the Church are first seen in “The Prologue,'; and he uses seven religious persons to show the influence of the religion in his