Chaucer's Use of Satire

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Chaucer’s Use of Satire In the reading "The Prologue" by Geoffrey Chaucer, one will find that satire is the most used literary device throughout the entire story. The definition of satire is the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc. (Dictionary.com) Strictly following that definition, the satire in the prologue is brilliantly used to break down the characters lives and reveal their flaws and human errors. Every one of the pilgrims on the journey is satirized to some extent, although the narrator is more critical of some more than others. Chaucer uses the narrator to describe each of the pilgrim’s flaws either through physical description, or by describing the pilgrim’s actions, or ways of life. To describe each of the characters flaws Chaucer seems to use mostly metaphors and long methods of characterization so that the reader has to make inferences about what the narrator sees as a bad trait in the character. Although Chaucer mostly points out flaws, he still points out some of the good in the pilgrims as well. He admires something in every single character except for the Pardoner, for there is nothing positive about him. The metaphoric satire is best shown in the narrator’s descriptions of the Friar and Monk, two characters with revealed problems. Satire is used on countless occasions throughout the story, but one of the characters that is the most scrutinized is the Friar. “He had arranged full many a marriage/of young women at his own cost.”(Chaucer 5) The narrator immediately uses satire in this description by describing the friars disturbing practice of getting young women pregnant and setting up marriages to men against the women’s will. The narrator continues on by then describing the friar’s habit of asking for money during confessions so that the penance the sinner has to pay is much
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