Chaucer’s Retraction Summary and Analysis

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Last Updated on January 20, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 121

Chaucer tells the reader that The Canterbury Tales are meant to give an overview of human nature, to be an encyclopedia of human behavior. The author does not want to be seen as a judge of his fellow man, but merely as a recorder of what he has heard and...

(The entire section contains 121 words.)

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Chaucer tells the reader that The Canterbury Tales are meant to give an overview of human nature, to be an encyclopedia of human behavior. The author does not want to be seen as a judge of his fellow man, but merely as a recorder of what he has heard and observed. He hopes that even the bawdy tales may be a means of improving his readers’ souls.

Chaucer adds his thanks to God, to the Virgin Mary, and to the saints for their inspiration in the writing of his more spiritual works. He begs for the grace of true penitence and the blessing of a happy death.

Analysis

The nature of the retraction—a sincere statement to the reader—precludes analysis.

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