Are The Characters In The Canterbury Tales — страница 3

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for absolution). The pardoner is notrepresented as a pious, humble and holy man as you would expect of a pardoner, but as a conniving,money-grabbing hypocrite. This character itself is almost a stereotype, though Chaucer’s description ofthe pardoner holds many quirky traits that take the pardoner from being a stereotype to being abelievable individual. The pardoner’s sexuality is a complex issue that has had critics such as DonaldHoward, G. L. Kiterridge and Paul Ruggiers debating. The pardoner is clearly not an open and shutstereotype. What is unique about the pardoner is that he recognises his own hypocrisy. He admits thathe is guilty of the “avarice” that he preaches against but separates himself from those who hecondemns,”Thus can I preche that same vice Which that

I use, and that is avarice. But though myself be gilty in that sine, Yit can I make other folk to twinne”(139-142) This recognition of his own hypocrisy takes the pardoner one stage further than a purelyhypocritical clergyman and makes his character more complex and interesting. The pardonerrecognises his own sins and fails to see this as a problem, creating a psychological profile that is muchtoo intricate to be brushed aside as a stereotype. This use of the typical ‘types’ of people encountered in Chaucer’s era helps to give a vividness thatthe reader can relate to and, quoting a stereotype initially (and then subsequently deconstructing it) ashe does with a number of the pilgrims such as Alison and the Knight, allows a lot of information to bepassed from the author to

the reader with minimum communication. Quoting a stereotype savesChaucer having to explain what the character is like. Chaucer takes advantage of this fact, but doesnot allow this to confine the scope his work has for realism. His genius in describing the pilgrims isthat he will use a stereotype and then add individual features (that more often than not contradict theinitial image), making the characters more intricate and interesting and above all ,more believable.The eye for detail that Chaucer obviously possesses is put to good use here, these characters are notbroad, generalising stereotypes, rather he gives a detailed insight into the psyche of the pilgrims weencounter. I believe that the pilgrims are believable and fully developed characters, that Chaucer has createdusing

typical stereotypes from the time and the people he saw around himself. He has combined thiswith individual quirks and details that give further insight into the characters. Chaucer has not createdstereotypes, but has used stereotypes (and manipulated them) in order to create intricate and realisticcharacters. This twinning of the typical and the atypical gives The Canterbury Tales a definite sense ofrealism that reaches far beyond stereotypes. 2031 words Footnotes 1. J.R. Hulbert, Chaucer’s Pilgrims p23 (from Essays in Modern Criticism-seebibliography) 2. The Black book of Carmarthen (c. latter 14th century, author unknown) Preidaeu Annun from The Book of Taliesin, poem 30 (c. 14th century authorunknown) 3. C. D. Benson, “Chaucer’s Pardoner: His sexuality and modern

critics” (fromLuminarium medieval literature website at Bibliography Chaucer (modern essays in criticism), edited by E. Wagenknecht, OUP 1974 The Canterbury Tales, D. Pearsall, Unwin Critical Library 1985 Who’s Who in Chaucer, A.F. Scott, Elm Tree1974 The Canterbury Tales (casebook series), edited by J.J. Anderson, Anchor Press 1974 Chaucer’s Women, P. Martin, Macmillan 1990 Chaucer, a critical appreciation, P.F. Baum, Duke University Press 1958 Chaucer Langland and the Creative Imagination, D. Aers Critical Essays on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, edited by M. Andrew Open University Press 1991 Chaucer, D. Aers, Harvester 1986 Geoffrey Chaucer, edited by J.A. Burrow, Penguin 1969 Editions of Canterbury Tales used: Penguin Classics 1960 edition Excerpts

contained in Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth edition, Volume 1Norton 1993 copyright 1998 alistair colling