The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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What are three reasons The Canterbury Tales were and are important?  

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Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales are important for a number of reasons. First, they provide a comprehensive overview of life in the Middle Ages. Because Chaucer's pilgrims come from different social classes, modern readers learn a great deal about life in medieval England. In the cross-section of society that he provides, we meet pilgrims classified by those who pray, those who labor, and those who fight. We learn what their lives are like and what they value. Because Chaucer the pilgrim, or the narrator, passes judgment on them, we also see a social commentary that exposes their vices as well as their virtues.

The Canterbury Tales are also important because Chaucer, who certainly knew Latin, the language of the Church, and French, the language of literature, chose to write them in the common man's Middle English. Because he selected Middle English as the language for the Tales , he made the stories more accessible to the readers of the time. He also made English itself more acceptable and...

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