Use of Characterization in The Canterbury Tales

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Characterization Essay Geoffrey Chaucer was a skilled author who wrote The Canterbury Tales. In this story of his, he used a lot of satire which is hard to decipher in text. When a person is sarcastic in speech it is easily detectable, but in text the average person would translate the language literally. In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer used satire to respectfully describe a few of his characters. One character he wrote of was a prioress. In the text he wrote, “…full well she sang the services divine, intoning through her nose…” When I first read this I thought Chaucer was writing of her beautiful singing voice, but when Mr. Parrott read it sarcastically in class I easily detected the sarcasm of Geoffrey Chaucer. My first thought was of a lady singing beautifully in church, then after understanding the satire I thought the woman who starred in the T.V. show The Nanny. Another good use of Chaucer’s brilliant, sarcastic mind was when he wrote of her table manners. I read, “At table she had well been taught withal, and never from her lips let morsels fall, nor dipped her fingers deep in sauce, but ate with so much care the food on her plate…her upper lip was always wiped so clean, that in her cup was no iota seen of grease, when she had drunk her draught of wine, becomingly she reached for her meat to dine.” With this imagery I pictured a proper lady eating with the most excellent dinner table manners. After having it read to me, I realized that Chaucer was really describing how much the Prioress’s table manners resembled those of a pig. A wise English teacher once told me that The Canterbury Tales was a story written not to be read, but to be spoken. This statement helped me to understand how I could not catch all of the satire used in this story. When you read literature that you have not written yourself, it is hard to accentuate at the certain points
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