In The Canterbury Tales, how was Chaucer satirizing life in England in "The Prologue?"

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salimj | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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It was in Chaucer the critical spirit of 14th century became most clearly apparent. The men and women who make up Chaucer's pilgrimage represent almost every class of society. Only the very highest and very lowest section of the society is left out. But the important section of the 14th century England is very much there in the Prologue. In other wards it can be considered as a veritable picture gallery.

By representing the entire sections of the society he tries to satirize the society. Firstly we see the knight who comes from the holy war, he is described as fresh because it was a 'holy' war. Then comes a dashing young man, son of the knight. He represents the youngsters of the 14th century England.  The Church is represented by Madam Eglentine and her fellow nun. This indeed the real picture of the church during that time. The worldly attraction overpowered spirituality. We can also see an undisciplined monk and a jovial Friar. These people behave exactly against the expected behavior of the religious people.

Then we have the Doctor, the Man of Law, the clerk of Oxford and Chaucer himself.  All these people represent the intellectual professions. At the end the Wife of Bath represents the women of the 14th century England

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