The Canterbury Tales Essay - Critical Essays

Sample Essay Outlines

The following paper topics are designed to test your understanding of the work as a whole and to analyze important themes and literary devices. Following each question is a sample outline to help you get started.

  • Topic #1
    One of Chaucer's persistent themes throughout The Canterbury Tales is the relationships of husbands and wives. In a well-developed paper, present the different views of this relationship as they are reflected in the Tales.

    Outline
    I. Thesis Statement: One fine example of the diversity of The Canterbury Tales is its presentation of different views on the relationships of husbands and wives—both the traditional medieval (in which the woman is considered to be subject to her husband) and nontraditional (in which the wife controls her husband by any means possible).

    II. The Traditional View
    A. The Cleric's Tale
    B. The Franklin's Tale
    C. The Merchant's Tale

    III. The Nontraditional View
    A. The Wife of Bath's Tale
    B. The Shipman's Tale

    IV. The Problem of Unfaithful Wives
    A. The Miller's Tale
    B. The Merchant's Tale

    V. Commentary on marriage in the dialogue between the tales

  • Topic #2
    As the pilgrimage progresses, animosities develop between several pairs of characters. Discuss the feuds between the Miller and the Reeve; the...

(The entire section is 652 words.)

Michael Foster, Ed. Scott Locklear