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The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Why are the Canterbury Tales useful for historians?

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Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are an indispensable historical source, as they provide both a snapshot of the daily lives of various classes and a means to understand historical trends that helped shape the Renaissance. Chaucer's extensive description of the eponymous Canterbury Tales offers historians with detailed insight into the daily life of medieval England. In addition to describing the minutiae of daily life, Chaucer provides information about such events as The Black Plague and the Magna Carta, which offer historians with even more perspective into specific aspects of English history. As such, while Chaucer certainly uses his cast to illustrate particular social trends, he also uses them to chronicle important historical events. I hope this blog has been helpful in your studies!

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In addition to being an invaluable part of the English literary canon, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales  offer an incomparable account of an important historical era. Chaucer's epic poem is primarily helpful because it provides an in-depth perspective of the end of the Middle Ages and the transitional period leading up to...

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the Renaissance. 

One of the most wonderful aspects of Chaucer's poem, it's all-encompassing description of a diverse and colorful cast of characters, is one of the primary ways in which Chaucer describes this historical period. Chaucer's cast represents multiple classes and walks of life, including the nobility (the Knight) the church (the Friar), budding capitalists (the Wife of Bath) and more. As such, Chaucer effectively provides an insight into how different historical classes lived life at the end of the Middle Ages. 

Additionally. Chaucer responds to a variety of important historical trends that drastically changed the social landscape, including the inaugural translation of the Bible into English, the Black Plague, and the Magna Carta. As such, while Chaucer certainly uses his characters to illustrate the minutiae of daily life, he also uses his poem to chronicle large historical events. In that case, Chaucer's poem provides historians with information both about daily life and England at large during the end of the Middle Ages. 

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