Homework Help

all in all what moral does the canter burry tale's give to each of us?i was ask to make...

user profile pic

erickson04 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 10, 2007 at 8:55 AM via web

dislike 1 like

all in all what moral does the canter burry tale's give to each of us?

i was ask to make a book report about the canter burry tale's and after reading all the stories of it, i still think what would be the main moral of canter burry tales.

2 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

jamie-wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted October 10, 2007 at 9:40 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

Chaucer's tales are chiefly (but loosely based) on biblical morality.  Characters are either punished or rewarded for their adherence to moral law.  The audience should take something away from the lessons learned by each character.  (Though it should definitely be pointed out that Chaucer has his gripes with clerical rule.)

Consider for example, the Physicians tale.  He concludes his story with the biblical maxim, "the wages of sin is death."  The Prioress, who considers cold-blooded murder, must die.  The Friar tales stories about people whose greed leads to their downfall.  For every moral sin, a punishment is doled out.  For example, while promiscuity itself is not often punished, the sinner is punished nonetheless in some other way.  For example, the Miller who attempts robbery is punished by having those he tried to steal from sleep with his wife.

Sources:

user profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 10, 2007 at 10:11 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

However, the tales need to be considered within the context of who tells them and what relationship that pilgrim might have with others.  The Wife's tale, for example, that true gentility and beauty goes beyond class and age, suggest a wistfulness of the part of the wife, now getting older, becoming less beautiful after 5 different husbands.  Her tale, too, begins with a knight raping a young woman.  The clerk's tale about patient Griselda needs to be considered within the context of his annoyance with the Wife for what she said about clerks in her prologue and Chaucer's "Envoy" that follows it. Consider some of the bawdier tales--as far as morals goes, they are rather slight, perhaps teaching the opposite of what the tale suggests.  Behind all of these different stories Chaucer has a very humanist view of his characters, willing to smile at them even while he criticizes them, and perhaps that tolerance and appreciation of life are the greatest moral lessons that unite these disparate tales.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes