Geoffrey Chaucer Questions and Answers

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Chaucer describes the Knight, Friar, Merchant, and Wife of Bath as worthy. What are the varying senses of worthiness that the characters represent. Which uses of worthy are ironic?

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In Chaucer's Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer provides the reader with a variety of insights into these characters of diverse backgrounds: from the very wealthy to the poor and humble.

In this case, we will look at Chaucer's descriptions of the Knight, Friar, Merchant and Wife of Bath.

The Knight and the Wife of Bath are truly worthy.

The Knight is a man who has fought for king and country. He has returned from war, and his first thought is to go on this holy pilgrimage to thank God for sparing his life. Beneath his armor we see that the clothing he wears to protect his skin is marred with wear and tear associated with battle, and the condition of his clothes attests to how hard he works.

...from the day on which he first began / To ride abroad had followed chivalry, / Truth, honor, generousness and courtesy...He was of sovereign value in all eyes., / And though so much distinguished, he was wise / And in his bearing as modest as a maid. / He never yet a boorish thing had said / In all...

(The entire section contains 634 words.)

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