The Canterbury Tales Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 200 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Canterbury Tales.
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Christianity

When The Canterbury Tales were written, Christianity was the dominant social force throughout western Europe, including England. Its influence stretched across the social spectrum from nobles to poor beggars. In 1388, while Chaucer was working on the tales, a change occurred in the way that Christianity was perceived and practiced when John Wycliffe, an English reformer, released a version of the Bible translated into English. For the first time, people from the lower classes, who had not been educated in Latin, could read the Bible themselves instead of having its word interpreted to them by members of the clergy.

The influence of Christianity can be seen in The Canterbury Tales by the variety of social types presented. Fourteenth century Christian society had room for different ways of incorporating faith into lifestyle. The Knight, for instance, espouses romantic love and brotherliness, and the Franklin tells a tale that ends with...

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This section contains 1,086 words
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Buy The Canterbury Tales Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Canterbury Tales from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.