The Canterbury Tales
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, (1342 – 1400), is a lively compilation of numerous fictional stories. Each story, in total twenty-nine, centers on a different person of a medieval society, that is involved in a religious pilgrimage to a town called Canterbury in England during the fourteenth century. Chaucer provides a diverse range of characters, their experiences, concerns and solutions, in both a narrative and an observing perspective. The book is written in Middle English and each tale deals with unique parables from each traveler.
One of the best-described characters is the Monk, a strong, “manly”, ordinary and holy man with a passion to hunt and to play sports. His personality can be interpreted as being very cocky, sarcastic, which normally is not found in men of the church. However, his attitude, selfishness and his unbelievably big desire to recreate himself give him a realistic vitality. Unlike other monks, he prefers to lead a luxurious life and to go out for “venery” (Latin veneria – desire, love), a word that is associated with sexual tendencies. Chaucer states, "This ilke Monk leet olde thinges pace,/And held after the newe world the space." (pg. 10), which indicates that this Monk finds delight, joy and happiness in modern privileges. For example his desire to hunt, which was a leisure time activity of the nobility at that time, proves that he cares about enjoyment rather than about the religious duties. The Monk’s values and attitude remind us of corrupt ideals of humans, who act without considering the consequences, neither for themselves nor others.
Not only his personality, even his appearance is striking and controversial. The man is described as being a fat and personable priest, who likes to eat and seems to be more in charge of food and drink than of the biblical rules. In fact he even disregards the age old rules of the monastery: "The Rule of good St. Benet or St. Maur/ As old and strict he tended to...