In Chaucer's "General Prologue" of The Canterbury Tales, are Chaucer's characters stereotypes?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The General Prologue" to Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, his characters are, in some instances, very stereotypical. Most specifically I would cite the members of the clergy. 

It is no secret that all institutions have some level of corruption, and the medieval church was no exception. While Chaucer points out the tendencies of most of the ecclesiastical participants on the pilgrimage to "sin," he is not "preachy," but is simply an observer—allowing the reader to judge the facts as they are presented (as Chaucer sees them).  

In that during this time there was no separation of Church and state, it is important to note that the Roman Catholic Church was in charge of religious and state affairs. Its representatives were the judge and jury: the highest law in the land. To sin was also to break the law. The strength of the Church was complete as it crossed all barriers—language and physical. Until Henry VIII decided to make himself the head of his own church and grant himself a divorce...

(The entire section contains 613 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team