There is no doubt that every writer is considered the mirror of his age, he wants or not his age reflects in his work ,either less or big but it would be present in his work. Geoffrey Chaucer is as a Representative of his Age, if we analyze his work Canterbury Tales, we find that he is describing his age and its ups and down, as under below Compton Rickett narrates
“Chaucer symbolizes, as no other writer does, the Middle Ages. He stands in much the same relation to the life of his time as Pope does to the earlier phases to the Eighteenth century; and Tennyson to the Victorian era; and his place in English literature is even more important than theirs…“
If we want to know “Geoffrey Chaucer as a Representative of his Age” then In Chaucer’s age England was divide in two board categories, one is Secular and other one is Ecclesiastical. In Secular king and queen and their families were on the top, below of it there were feudal lords who had large of land whereas the knight and the Squair came in last feudal hierarchy. After it, at the bottom of feudal category , we meet peasants actually they were considered to serfs of the feudal class. In between knights and squire trade and crafts class came in the surface of the society of 14 century and this was the the picture of rural society. In urban society there was merchants, this class suppressed to others class , they were prominent as well as dominant because those days England earned prosperity due to woolen cloth industry and exporting was going on the top, the traders were becoming prosperous and the same class brought about the huge change in the sphere of political life , after it, the persons showed up in the form of various professsions like that medicine, law,
As someone French critics says that in this manners:-
“In his (Chaucer’s) poetry we find the essential spirit both of the age that was passing and of the age that was to come.“
Lower middle class become afraid by the Reeve and they have no dare to tell about his corruption to his master or anybody else. They afraid as they afraid by death (plague). Plague is one of epidemics in which most of half of the populations were died by this epidemic. “The Reeve in Prologue Canterbury Tale Character Analysis and Summary” suggests in Chaucer’s time there was rule of diseases and epidemics. The corruption was not only present in upper class society but also in middle and low middle class society. Now, the situations are not different than that those days.
Chaucer wants to tell us the learning passion is not die so far as in his age. There are such people that are busy in learning. If Merchant’s character is representative is business class and the clerk is representative of learning class. This is a poor clerk of Chaucer in his The Prologue Canterbury Tales, he is also an ideal character of Chaucer with help of him we will know how is renaissance spirit is curling towards England. He is role model for corrupts and dishonest clergy men, at this very same time he is symbol of patient, second moment he shows up as poor as Chaucer’s lower middle class is, at the same time he is symbol of renaissance in himself. The Clerk Character and Summary in Canterbury Tales narrate that there is poor clerk who is hope against hope, he is a character in which Chaucer wants to tell us everything is not worst in his age rather there are some men who are role model for religious life as well as secular life.
Aa far as “Geoffrey Chaucer as a Representative of his Age” is concerned, in Chaucer’s time the the women had no basic rights, they had to keep in their households, they had lack of freedom, they were tread as sex tool, they bestowed child but neglected by their husbands, we can say that there was a male dominant society. And character of wife is revolt against that norms that had nourished in that era. However, church also considered her as a tool of temptation, the Bible story was suggested in churches and was to be admitted that this sec actually , the cause of the fall of man. In Prologue to the Canterbury Tales we find out only two females characters, one is linked to religious world and other one is attached to secular world. The wife of Bath character in Canterbury Tales is one of the best characters of Chaucer who is representative of her class. It was a custom of medieval that every writer wrote about women and satirized on them and woman was to be considered the agent of devil, Chaucer also wrote about various type of women in his work but his character were as real as they looked. Chaucer does not satirize on woman only but also he paints virtuous characters in his work like the characters of Virginia and Cecilia both are embodiment of all virtues. This character shows the “Decline of the Church “as well as the religion, there is only texture and gimmick in religion, act has been vanished from the lives of the people ,there is nothing called to be the outstanding in religion. The manner in which, “The Prioress “has shown us, her food and drinking manners are not a disaster but a disaster of religion.
The knight character is very much differ from the others characters in “Canterbury Tales”. he belongs to the world of secular, in Chaucer’s time the chivalry and bravery had very much significance in human life, hands to hands battles were very common . The knights fought for sacred purpose, for instance dignity for woman, honour for religion and honour for country but this chivalry was ended the invention of gunpowder. The monopoly of knights, yeoman and squire was ended, now a days the knights are only decoration piece in England
Geoffrey Chaucer as a Representative of his Age can be seen in this manners, in Chaucer’s time there was a system the people donated the tax in the form of tithes, tithes means is a tax which is imposed on the people that have land or earn money by lands , they are bound to pay tax on his income that they have earned by his lands. The Parson does not force his followers to pay the tax at right time rather he himself pays the tax if one could not pay it. Like wise the friar and the pardoner he never threats his parishioners rather he consoles them and aids them by his personal income. “The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales”. The Parson Character , indeed, is revolt against the monastic characters that have been represented by Chaucer, like ,the friar, the monk, the prioress, the summoner all of them are opposite about him because they are indulged in worldly enjoyment rather he is doing real practice that the Christ had been told us.
The friar is a ecclesiastical character in Canterbury Tales the religion can be seen by this character, we are not spurring having seen the corrupt conduct of the friar, the friar makes fool to selling fake and fool things but this era people had faith on religion and attended the church regularly having known the church officials were corrupt and had worldly mind
The monk character in Canterbury Tales is treated with ironical way, by Chaucer unveils the the corrupt mask of the religion, his character is no more than a satire on religion. In Chaucer’s time the church was a powerful institution as well as medium of speech. And the same monk is related with church area. The monk character is actually symbol of downfall of religion life, in Canterbury Tales he is not what should be him, he is is totally opposite the life of church, he loves secular life instead o church The manner in which Chaucer has described it is very worth praising. This character shows the “Decline of the Church” as well as the religion ,there is only texture and gimmick in religion, act has been vanished from the lives of the people ,there is nothing called to be the outstanding in religion.
Pardoner is a ecclesiastical character in Canterbury Tales the religion can be seen by this character, we are not spurring having seen the corrupt conduct of the pardoner, the pardoner makes fool to selling fake and fool things but this era people had faith on religion and attended the church regularly having known the church officials were corrupt and had worldly mind. The pardoner is a man who listens the confession of the sinner and after hearing confession he consoles this sinner in this manner a man satisfies with him God is merciful and he hundred and 10 percent will forgive him if he will not do so next time. But the same friar says that the people should pay money to him so that they may take redemption , it means he is spreading evils for his worldly purposes .
Geoffrey Chaucer as a Representative of his Age this can be shown in Summoner tale and character , we find out the system of the courts in 14century , there is no much difference than that our era, the courts and its officials are corrupts. Actually summoner is a man who is linked with church court, in Chaucer’s time which is called medieval age church had a powerful institution that made law and regulations. In church court the summoner calls out the sinner, this is his duty but duty is only veil on him but real thing is for him the bribery that he takes by sinner in favour in their cases The summoner is a ecclesiastical character in Canterbury Tales the religion can be seen by this character, we are not spurring having seen the corrupt conduct of the summoner, the summoner makes bribery from criminals and sinners and gives favour to them, but in this era people had faith on religion and attended the church regularly having known the church officials were corrupt and had worldly mind. The summoner character in Canterbury Tales is treated with satirical way, by Chaucer unveils the the corrupt mask of the religion, his character is no more than a satire on religion. In fact he is cheater and exploits to the poor people in church as well as outside the church.
In “The Reeve Tale Character Analysis and summary” Geoffrey Chaucer actually, wants to tell us about his age as he tells us dishonesty in religion field, he delineates various characters that are; the Friar, the Monk, the Prioress, the, Pardoner etc. Same as he wants to come up dishonesty in agriculture field. The Reeve character is a manager in Canterbury tales. The Reeve character is not so much different than today manager, as we see in various field we find out corrupts manager in different kind of fields, offices, in institutions, companies, the place has been changed but the nature is same as it is as was in Chaucer’s age.
As we know that Chaucer portrays “Prologue Canterbury Tales” in the each and every class except the baggers and kings and queens. The Ploughman Character ,and Summary in Canterbury Tales indeed, is revolt against the upper class also because those days the upper class people did not say compliments about the tiller’s working like that characters have been represented by Chaucer. There are such some characters in “The Prologue Canterbury Tales” that represent the middle class society or working class. It seems that he belongs to middle class, actually by the character of cook Chaucer paints the life of working class. As we know that Chaucer portrays
Actually by the character of cook Chaucer paints the life of working class. As we know that Chaucer portrays “Prologue Canterbury Tales” in the each and every class except the baggers and kings and queens.
Leguois says“CHAUCER……………………is truly the social chronicler of England at the end of fourteenth century. What he has given is a direct transcription of daily life, taken in the very act, and in its most familiar aspects.”
So, at the end we say that Geoffrey Chaucer as a Representative of his Age because he reveals all aspects of his age and all the characters reveal their class status, their social status, their age, their surrounding as well.