Religious Characters In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

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Everything is not what it seems. Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of The Canterbury Tales, elaborates the previous statement in the best way possible. Chaucer’s descriptions of the religious characters reveal the ugly truth about the Church in the Middle Ages. Chaucer portrays most of the religious characters negatively, having them not follow usual stereotypes. The nun, who certainly goes against the status quo, reflects the Church structure. The characterization of the nun shows the Church’s power and mindset during the Middle Ages.
Most religious characters of The Canterbury Tales seem to be characterized negatively. Excluding the Knight and the Yeoman, the rest of the cast have a tendency to want for wealth, to have a sexual impulse, and to participate in an unnatural activity. In the Middle Ages, Churches forbade such devilish things. Before becoming a nun or a part of the Church, one was to say “sacred vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience” (Dummies). It is quite ironic and hypocritical for those working in the church to have a vow over poverty. The Church in the Middle Ages had a “large budget” and a leader of nobility, both being signs of wealthiness (Newman). But this is the whole point to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Christianity, specifically the Roman Catholic Church, “was a universal, all-encompassing institution” which affected “every aspect of societal life” in the Middle Ages (Newman). The satire is supposed to expose the ugly truth about the Catholic Church
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