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The Canterbury Tales: the Liking and Disliking of Many

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In The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, it is clear that Geoffrey Chaucer has some liking and some disliking for the pilgrims in this story. No one’s sure if Chaucer dislikes the characters, but he sure does make some out to be hideous. Chaucer describes most of his characters with so much detail, so much that it would be odd to have a character so plain. An example is the Plowman. It isn’t that Chaucer dislike him, but he doesn’t like him. Most of the time, Chaucer does show his disliking with writing about how evil they are. The same goes for the pilgrims he likes. An example is the Friar because of the lovely details. The detail is key for deciding who Chaucer likes, or not. An example of a pilgrim he dislikes is the Miller because he’s a cheater.

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Firstly, he Miller is one old man, who is not described nicely in this story. In fact, he is described as having a “wart on the very tip of his nose.” Chaucer is clearly letting people know that this man is not the one to mess with or even look at. For example, “broad, knotty and short shouldered… his beard, like any sow or fox, was red… his nostrils were as black as they were wide.” In the 14th Century it was known that if you were ugly on the outside, you were ugly on the inside. Think about Beowulf, Grendel is the hideous beast. Another point to my case is the choice of vocabulary words that is used to describe the Miller. There are words like, filthy, wrangler, and buffoon. Those are not likeable words that you say to a likeable person.

Secondly, the Plowman is certainly a hardworking man. In fact, he is a faithful man who loves God. The reason why Chaucer is not interested in him is because he’s not likeable. He’s too plain. There’s no description of the Plowman, only his character, or personality. The Plowman is a basic good man that leaves no mark to the other pilgrims and Chaucer. In every story there is a hero and villain, especially back in the 14th Century, but with the Plowman he’s definitely not evil, but he’s not a hero, he’s in the middle. The Plowman isn’t a hero because he doesn’t stand out in any aspects, especially not his physical features, because he doesn’t have any. Once again, Chaucer doesn’t dislike this character, but this character is no one’s favorite.

Last but not least, the Friar seems very joyful and happy. From the jump, anyone can already tell that the use of vocabulary is undeniably sweet and kind. Chaucer uses words such as merry, festive, noble, courteous, and intimate to describe how likeable this Friar is. Those are words you receive at your funeral, but this fellow is very much alive. A friar is a member of religious gatherings living on donations. Every good story has a boy with a very unique background. Chaucer depicts the Friar as a lady’s man, insinuating that all men want to be him. Another reason why Chaucer likes the Friar is because of the religion. Chaucer obviously dislikes evil people, and loves good, which the Friar is. Chaucer is most likely a religious man since most people were Catholics in the 14th Century. Chaucer has taken a liking to the perfect boy with a strange background.

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