The Canterbury Tales

The Mischievous Monk's Pilgrimage 12th Grade

In the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer portrays multiple unique personalities including a conniving, rebellious Monk who selfishly dismisses the church’s rule and lives greedily in his own world. Throughout the Monk’s tale, proof of his irreverence for the church is documented in both obvious and discrete ways; he is disgraceful, sacrilegious, and deceitful, and hides his lack of faith behind the persona of being a ‘modern monk.’ Thus, Chaucer engages in a mode of especially pointed satire, in which the expected code of conduct is completely reversed and subverted.

The Monk’s way of life completely defies each of the main duties he has as a member of the monastery. The Rule of St. Benet clearly states the guidelines, regulations and duties of Monks and Abbotts who live in a community environment and they were created to establish order, preach the minimal needs of Monks, and form an understanding of their religious responsibilities in society. Chaucer’s Monk consciously refuses to abide by the conditions of his stature, saying honestly that he saw the rules of St. Benet as “old and strict” (10). In the Middle Ages religion and faith were the most critical elements in the daily life of all people; weather they were a noble or...

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