What are three spiritual lessons from The Canterbury Tales?

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hmartin17 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Because The Canterbury Tales is written about a pilgrimage during the medieval time period, spiritual lessons are prevalent in the text. Some examples include:

The Man of Law's Tale is about a woman named Constance who suffers for the majority of her life, but who is rewarded for her pain. Several miracles occur in her presence, and she is the emblem of Christianity in the tale. Her faithfulness to her husband, overall purity, and her unwavering perseverance are rewarded by her salvation and by her son being crowned king. The lesson is that purity and perseverance are holy practices that will be rewarded. 

The Prioress's Tale is about a small schoolboy who faces persecution for being a Christian. He refuses to stop singing praises to Mother Mary, and is killed by Jews as a martyr. Even after his death, the boy continues to sing! The spiritual lesson is that faithfulness and bravery will bring favour in the eyes of Mary and God. 

A final example is found in The Parson's Tale. He preaches a long and lengthy sermon on the importance of penitence. This is the clearest spiritual lesson found in The Canterbury Tales as it is basically spelled out for readers and listeners alike - penitence is the only way to salvation.

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The Canterbury Tales

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