Satire in Chaucer's The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales works within a subtle frame of evaluation of the pilgrims.Discuss

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theyellowbookworm | College Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

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In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer's narrator utilizes satire to critique the pilgrims. More specifically, satire reveals the social distinctions between the pilgrims. For instance, there is a marked difference between the friar, who lives off the welfare of others, and the wealthy Franklin. The narrator’s commentary, which favors some characters over others, reveals each character’s social class and how these classes are represented.

Additionally, the narrator's satirical tone reveals that many of the pilgrims attempt to transcend their social classes. For instance, the Prioress  adopts courtly mannerisms and the Friar uses the power of confession to his advantage. By utlizing satire, Chaucer subtly reproaches the behaviors that act out of accordance with class standards.

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