Canterbury tale and medieval art

Tale and Art in middle Ages The Middle Ages have been regarded as extending approximately from the end of fifth century AD to 1600s. The Middle Ages were a society significantly more civilized and developed than previous times. Some sections of Italian society had begun to mimic the art and philosophy of ancient Greece, but commonly in Italy and Europe, generally no all-pervading change had occurred. The Canterbury Tale is a story written by Geoffrey Chauser in Middle English.

It is the story of a group of thirty people who are all from different occupation.

They told each other stories to kill time when traveling to Canterbury. In the Canterbury Tale, an illustration of the Medieval Christian church is presented. When talking about the church, it can’t be considered separately. The church has to always be related to social, economic and political context of that period because people in that society gather in groups, make religious and church. Moreover those people create these tales of a pilgrimage of Canterbury.

One of the stories in the Canterbury Tale, “The Pardoner’s Tale,” is the story of church’s corruption. The story was made to parody the Western Schism, church’s greed. At the time when the tale was written, the church was corrupted by spread of the unrestricted sale of indulgences by pardoners. Popes sold the indulgences, which were suppose to forgive people’s sins. The Pardoner, the main character in the “Pardoner’s Tale” preaches to villagers about sin and collects money.

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When telling the story, the Pardoner gives an example f three rioters who commit sins and show what happened because of them committing sins.

He uses this story to emphasize morals to the audience, however, it is ironic that even if the Pardoner is kind of a bishop who gives sermons to the villagers, he is as corrupted as the rioters. His purpose is to gather money from the villagers, not to correct the sins. Chaucer used a certain character like Pardoner in the ‘Pardoner’s Tale,’ to represent one of the many popes who were ruined by greed. I chose this art piece depicting Chaucer’s ‘Pardoner’s tale’. It is a carved wooden anel made of Elmwood with scenes from the story.

It is describing the part when the three rioters found gold. They planned how to divide it but their greed to get it all themselves caused their downfall. The left-hand panel shows a man buying wine and putting poison in it to kill the other rioters, so that he could take all the gold. In the central panel, the other two attack the man who comes with the wine, and stab him to death. In the right hand panel the murderous pair sit down and drink the poisoned wine. Eventually, their greed leads all of them to their death.

This art work describes the story so precisely that people who lived in that era, who were illiterate, could have been able to understood what Chaucer wanted to say, and fgure out what was wrong about church by looking at the art works. After they get aware of the church’s corruption and popes they were into, by learning through the story from the artworks, people might have tried to find solution for the corrupted situation. In this way, it can be said that artwork might have succeed in giving people in that period, a new perspective tor what they were believing at.

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Canterbury tale and medieval art. (2018, Oct 17). Retrieved from

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