Canterbury Tales Essay

Submitted By naasir765
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Canterbury Tales
After participating in the pilgrimage to Canterbury, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the “Canterbury Tales”. This tale consists of twenty nine pilgrims traveling to Canterbury. On their way to Canterbury a challenge is set for everyone to tell a total of four stories − two stories going and two stories coming back. One of the twenty nine pilgrims was a Wife of Bath who was a woman that was married five times. There was also a Pardoner who was a seller of religious artifacts and boasted about his money. Of all the stories told the Wife of Bath’s and Pardoner’s story compared and contrasted to one another in their belief about poverty, choices people make, and blindness in the mind as well as the heart.
In the “Wife of Bath Tale” a knight is married to an old lady because he had his life spared from a heinous crime he committed against women. This lady was kind hearted but she was also a foul and old looking lady. Her appearance alone brought the knight shame because he thought he deserved better but little did he know this woman was mysterious and full of surprises. During an argument the couple was having the knight brought up how poor and unattractive she was. The old lady responded with, “The poor can dance and sing in the relief of having nothing that will tempt a thief. Though it be hateful, poverty is good. A great incentive to a livelihood and a great help to our capacity for wisdom, if accepted patiently” (Chaucer 283-289). The old lady said when you are poor you are able to experience life to the fullest because you do not have to worry about personal belongings. People who try to live life with money cannot. This is because money changes the hearts of people which blind them to how beautiful life is and what can happen in that life. For instance, in the “Pardoner Tale” three rioters made a pack to be brothers. On their journey they come across a huge sum of money. Two of them watched the money while the other one went back to town to bring back bread and wine. While one character leaves, the other two characters start to plot against him. The thought of their plan is, “all this money will be ours to spend, divided equally of course, dear friend. Then we can gratify our lusts and fill the day with dicing at our own sweet will. Thus these two miscreants agreed to slay the third and youngest, as you heard me say” (Chaucer 173-178). As shown in these lines these two guys were blinded by all the money they could have instead of staying true to their pack. This pack was disbanded when money came into the picture. These two men thought that money was the only thing to make life better but on the other hand the old lady from the Wife of Bath Tale thought that money was not the way to have a good life. In other parts of these two tales choices are made that were either good or evil. In the “Wife of Bath Tale” the knight is given the option to choose how his wife should be. The old lady says, “You have two choices; which one will you try? To have me old and ugly till I die but still a loyal, true and humble wife that never will displease you all her life; or would you rather I were young and pretty and chance your arm what happens in a city … Which would you have? The choice is all your own” (Chaucer 304-312). The old lady told the knight to choose but the knight told her to choose instead. As a result, the old lady becomes a young and beautiful lady who would be loyal to her husband. The choice the Knight made was to allow his wife to stand up, be independent and have the same authority as him. On the other hand in the “Pardoner Tale” the two men had a choice to make but their decision was unintelligent. One of the rioters said, “You know that you can trust me as a brother now let me tell you where your profit lies, you know our friend has gone to get supplies and here’s a lot of gold that is to be divided equally amongst us three” (Chaucer 150-154). The lust of money blinded the rioters who made a pack to…