Examples Of Foolishness In The Canterbury Tales

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Charity and Selfishness in The Canterbury Tales
During the Middle Ages, the medieval society was very separated and the different classes and occupations were rarely brought together. However, through the use of a frame story, along with his variety of experiences as a soldier, courtier, civil servant, and diplomat, Chaucer was able to create a collection of allegories. Doing this brought together all the different aspects of the medieval time period. This cross-section of medieval society aided in Chaucer's purpose of revealing the truth behind its members. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the difference between leading one’s life according to a principle of charity, like the Knight and the Parson, and living according to a principle
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In the prologue, Chaucer introduces both of the characters along with their charitable qualities. The Knight is described as possessing the qualities of “chivalry, truth, honor, generousness, and courtesy” (l. 45-46). These characteristics express the Knights willingness to protect, help, and respect others, and overall present him as a benevolent member of society. Another charitable character is the Parson, who Chaucer states is “a holy-minded man of good renown” (l. 487). The Parson also “preferred beyond a doubt giving to the poor parishioners round about both from church offerings and his property” (l. 497-499). Through being a righteous man and therefore giving to the poor, the Parson is also shown as a charitable member of medieval society. Chaucer continues his lesson of leading a life according to a principle of charity in the Wife of Bath’s Tale. In this tale, a Knight is being taught a lesson of unselfishness which he learns in the end when he says “My lady my love, my dearest wife, I leave the matter to your wise decision… whichever pleases you suffices me” (l. 406-411). This shows that the Knight learned about unselfishness because he allows his wife to make the decision for herself and not have it be what he would choose. Through the Knight, the Parson, and the Wife of Bath’s Tale, Chaucer establishes what it means to live one’s life according to a principle of

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