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Decameron and The Canterbury Tales

  1. Was Chaucer in favor of the Church or opposed to it? Be sure you provide proof

Chaucer’s views about the church are shown to be hypocritical. He shows the church to lacking in spirituality.  The church is instead shown to be concerned in some trivial matters which are not relevant to deliverance of the human soul.

In the story of The Canterbury Tales, the author Geoffrey Chaucer uses some characters to point out what according to him what was wrong or right within the Catholic Church. Characters like the Monk, Friar, Pardoner, Prioress and Summoner are used to illustrate what he saw wrong in the church. All these prominent members of the church are shown to distance themselves from the church’s main course; spirituality. These members are shown to move towards modern ideas and superficiality. The nun (Prioress) is shown to be negligent as she is shown to feed her dogs fancy foods while people are starving in the streets. She is shown weeping when a mouse dies in a trap but does not show concern when hundreds die of hunger or the conditions they are going through.

  1. Among Boccaccio's ten storytellers are seven women, and The Decameron is addressed to women. Comment on the depiction of gender relations in the stories we read this week

Giovanni Boccaccio is considered the father of Italian prose and he collected one hundred novelle better known as Decameron. The author addresses his Decameron to an audience of female readers that while men in love have outlets of their desires, women in love just sit idle and open invasions of sadness.

Generally in our society, women are held in a low social status as compared to men. We know that in most societies, women are rarely allowed to have any significant role in society other than that of a wife and a mother. Through the stories we had seen earlier this whole week, women are seen to be more tolerant to adversity than men. This endurance emanates from the fact that women when faced with adversity face hurdles in solving their problems unlike men and thus will tend to endure large sorts of hardships.

Women also have the ability to be very cunning. They tend to formulate plans that involve significant degrees of cunningness. They are known posses superior plans and expertise in devising devious plans to achieving what they require especially from men.  

  1. How have women been portrayed thus far in literature? Are they ever in starring roles, or merely eye candy? Be sure to give examples to support yourself

Throughout the book of the Canterbury tales, women are shown to be treated as objects. The author offers a lot of insight into their life and many aspects revealed through tales of many characters. Women in the tales are often defined by their looks, wealth and upbringing. They are not valued for their intelligence, wisdom or ability. But towards the end of the book, the author uses wife of Bath’s and the old woman to show men how they should view women. He also uses the two to show them that there is more to women than just beauty and money contrary to their perceptions.

Women’s places in society have been portrayed better by the tales that they tell. Apart from Bath’s tales, women are men’s objects in the nun’s priest’s tale. In the story, chanticleer has seven wives who are his mistresses and he is the rooster who has mastery over his women. The nun’s priest also uses Pertelote to show an untrustworthy side of women. Pertelote scoffs at Chanticleer when he tells her of his foreboding dreams as mere nonsense. The dream is later proven true and the Nun’s priest portrays women as untrustworthy. The Nun’s priest does not hold her interpretation for women empowerment but she holds the view that women should be humble and men’s object who may give bad counsel. For the Miller, women are seen as innocent and passive. The wife of Bath tells that women have an advantage and they should be controlling party in their relationships.

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