Satire in the Canterbury Tales

Satire in The Canterbury Tales
Throughout Geoffrey Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales, there are many references of satirical elements that are one of the main reasons why this collection of poems is a classic. However, what makes this uncanny in a way is that Chaucer was not known to be a writer with comedic standards; instead he was known to have been a writer of romantic poems and love oriented ballads. The poem is about a group of pilgrims that gather in an inn located in London and prepare to take a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Through the adventure, they all agree to tell stories as a form of competition, and the best storyteller is entitled the winner. These stories range from comedic tales to supposed religious teachings, just to name a few. The significance of the tales that are told are that it deals particularly with attitudes of the medieval times, which is also known as the present time when the poem was written. The tales include medieval thoughts of love, religion, and class-ranks, just to name a few. With such an artistic method of storytelling, Chaucer is successfully able to use satire to create an imposing work of literature, which is most prominent in the General Prologue, the Wife of Bath’s Tale, and the Pardoner’s Tale.
Chaucer wastes no time in beginning with the satirical elements from the General Prologue. Here is where the narrator describes each character that is embarking on the pilgrimage and gives a brief description of their character. It is one of the most important tales of the literary work because it sets up the foundation of how each pilgrim is viewed, as well as giving the reader a framework of what to expect from their respective tale. The first character that is described happens to be the knight, whom is described as the ideal warrior. He is a highly regarded figure, whom is very decorated in battle and has traveled far and wide. A very “reputable man”, as the text would describe him (Chaucer 4). However, he is then described…