How is Chaucer considered to be famous satire?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chaucer was the master of satire. He is satirical in his descriptions of those who traveled on a pilgrimage together in the Canterbury Tales. Chaucer especially criticizes those who professed Christianity:

The Wife of Bath proves to be very familiar with Biblical Scripture, finding her own sexuality to be acceptable, if not ideal, by Biblical standards. The Pardoner is the most cynical Christian, condemning the very behaviors that he indulges in and trying to sell salvation by way of the counterfeit icons and the signed certificates from the pope he carries with him.

No doubt, Chaucer is creative in his satirical rhetoric. In his poetry, particularly the Canterbury tales, Chaucer satirizes all classes of life. He includes the peasants, the knightly class and he especially satirizes the church. Truly, his characterizations can seem crude because his writing is full of scatological or obscene humor and sexual innuendo. Clearly, Chaucer uses crudeness as a means to satirize.

Truly, Chaucer is always refreshing. In an era of overtly political correctness, Chaucer could flatter when he wanted to but more importantly he used his satirical wit to devastate those he thought to be hypocritical.

Clearly, Chaucer was a very gifted satirist. While using the naive narrator's voice, the reader should not accept that this is the voice of Chaucer. In fact, there are many impressive attitudes in the Canterbury Tales. Through Chaucer's talented writing, the tales tones range from "satirical, elevated, pious, earthy, bawdy, and comical" attitudes.