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Canterbury Tales: Corruption Of The Church Essay

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  • on April 27, 2011
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,185 words

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Below is an essay on "Canterbury Tales: Corruption Of The Church" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The Corruption of the Church
Religion was a way of life during the Middle Ages, and because of this reality, no one escaped the authority of the Catholic Church. If condemned to ignorance about the Middle Ages, one would assume, as a result, that the Church was a safeguard for its believers. Yet, in actuality it was the root of all evil.  People during this period found many things in which to deviate, and, therefore, the Church became the center stage for corruption. The Zeitgeist of the Middle Ages can be easily seen through this corruption of the Catholic Church, a topic brought to focus in Geoffrey Chaucer’s novel The Canterbury Tales. Here, in his novel, Chaucer’s characters often convey personalities that are appalling; some of them have faults that could fill an entire cup more than full. To make matters even more scandalous, a good number of these characters are affiliated with the Catholic Church. Furthermore, their corruption and that of the Catholic Church at large can be analyzed through their deviation from the vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity, which are essential to being a devout Catholic.
First of all, Catholic’s believe that in order to be religious, one must surrender worldly goods and be poor in reality as well in spirit.  They felt that they had to “[. . .] become completely reliant in faith on [their] heavenly Father and upon the Church. To the degree that [they] have emptied [them]selves[. . .],” of this world, and its worldly possessions (“Vow of Poverty”).  Of course, like all other human beings, the people of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages had imperfection, and as a result, some choose to ignore the vow of poverty and not follow it. This is clearly seen through the characters in The Canterbury Tales who were involved with the Church and how the practice of this vow was weak within them. One can learn that the breaking of the vow of poverty was not uncommon. For example, the Nun wore expensive trinkets and fancy beads...

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