Packet Thirteen Essay

854 words - 4 pages

Chaucer is a medieval author best known for his witty Canterbury Tales. He “was born between 1340 and 1345, probably in London. His father was a prosperous wine merchant” (BBC). Drawing inspiration from what he had experienced in his lifetime, Chaucer wrote his problems about his society with a series of short stories, names the Canterbury Tales. These tales are abnormal, due to being written in English, instead of Latin, like most stories of that period. Also, there is lots of examples of satire within the text. Within the General Prologue, Pardoner’s Prologue, and Wife of Bath’s Prologue, Chaucer uses both types of satire to reach his intended audience, which is the common public.

In the General Prologue, Chaucer uses lots of Horatian satire, which is “A gentle, sympathetic form of satire in which the subject is mildly made fun of with a show of engaging wit.” (Satire Character).For example, the narrator tells how the Prioress “. ..was indeed by no means undergrown”. However, he also uses Juvenalian satire, which “in literature, any bitter and ironic criticism of contemporary persons and institutions that is filled with personal invective, angry moral indignation, and pessimism” (Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.). In other words, its when someone says “Dude, did he really just call out…” and another person says “Yup, he just did.” An example of this is the Monk. The Monk is a well-respected character within his town “He was a fat and personable priest”, and even though he is supposed to be practicing celibacy, the narrator tells us that one of the Monk’s favorite pastimes is to get down and dirty! Chaucer calls out the Church right here, ticking off a lot of people.

In the Pardoner’s Prologue, there is lots more Juvenalian satire present that Horatian. He tells how the Pardoner does not care about his followers welfare. All he cares for is his “exclusive purpose is to win, and not at all to castigate their sin”. Again, this is a direct call out of the Church. Chaucer is a smart cat, though. When he is approached about the identity of the Pardoner, he says how it was just a guy he met, but couldn’t seem to recall his name. Also, he “dodges the blame for the “villainous” tales that some of the pilgrims tell. He is only, he says, doing his job as witness and reporter, and he has no authority to change the words they actually said.” (Learningtogether2012).

In the Wife of Bath’s Prologue, there is more Horatian satire than Juvenalian. She was noted on having “gap-teeth, set widely, truth to...

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