Social Satire in The Canterbury Tales | Free Writing Sample (2023)


  1. Social relationships

    1. satire on short stories

      (Video) Social Satire in the prologue to the canterbury tales

    2. author implications

    (Video) Satire and the Canterbury Tales
  2. Diploma

The Canterbury Storiesis an unfinished work by the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, written in the late 14th century, in Middle English. The work is a collection of poetic and prose novels united by a common framework: the stories are told by pilgrims who set out in search of the relics of Saint Peter. Thomas Beckett in Canterbury. The narrators represent different social classes and different professions: there is a merchant, a priest, a sailor, a weaver, and many others. The work, so saturated with characters from different strata of society, could not ignore acute social issues. One of the main points raised by the author is the corruption of the church and the claims among the nobility. These themes, along with more frequent human stupidity, are ridiculed by both the author and the characters themselves.

(Video) Chaucers Use of Satire in The Canterbury Tales 247895845 360x360 F15

For as little as $13.00 $11.05/page 308 qualified experts can submit a social satire essay on The Canterbury Tales tailored to your instructions online. Learn more

Social relationships

describe heroes

The problem of social inequality manifests itself literally in the author's first stories.The Canterbury StoriesIt begins with the story of a knight who tells his own story in the style of a chivalrous novel. Following him, the miller tells a story with a similar plot but in a simpler vernacular (Chaucer, 2012). The author portrays the lower-class characters as hungry for alcohol, which is why some of them are unable to finish their stories or break their tails. Even representatives of the highest strata of English society have human weaknesses: the monk and the bailiff of the church court try to ridicule each other with obscene stories. Another excellent example is also Pardoner who sells fake relics.

However, it is necessary to pay tribute to the author - all the heroes of the work are really extremely different and opposite. Each one tells the story of him in their own language and about what is really important to them: the knight - about adventure, the priest - about remorse, the seller of indulgences - about greed. The lower classes of society talk about gossip, about the private lives of other more famous people, sometimes even interrupting their story (Chaucer, 2012). Chaucer presents humor delicately: he brings direct irony to the speech of very few characters. Most of the time he sounds from the lips of Harry Bailey, the owner of the hotel.

satire on short stories

Not only does the author make fun of some qualities of his characters, but the characters themselves tell their stories with irony and satire. The story of Sir Topaz is a parody of chivalric novels, but the story itself does not feature brave knights, but goblins and giants (Cooper, 2017). The convent chaplain's prologue, story, and epilogue are written as a fable and heroic poem (Olson, 2017). The Miller satirizes the story of the knight, stepping outside the frame of the plot and changing the characters and plot of the story in his own way. When the knight talks about mortal combat with sword and spear, the miller describes the combat as a comedy and points out all the human flaws.

The lower classes are filled with much more irony, as most of their stories are hearsay-inspired, in which they push every possible limit without fear of tarnishing their reputations. Many of them never stop drinking, which makes the various comments in their stories all the more poignant. Upper-class tact and courtesy, on the other hand, are reflected in his narrative language. But despite the high syllable, some narrators do not skimp on obscene expressions and try to annoy other characters with their stories. A more vivid example is the story of the captain, which tells about the love triangle and IOUs between its participants.

Corruption in the Catholic Church was a serious problem in Chaucer's time and a major issue inThe Canterbury Stories. Through the use of satire, he reveals this problem to the audience. The author sometimes intentionally exaggerates the shortcomings of religious leaders. The only moral-religious figure, a pastor whose pure lifestyle is designed to exemplify the counterfeit lifestyle of other ministers.

(Video) Satire in Canterbury Tales

It is noteworthy that in addition to stories filled with satire, there are many stories in the play with a more serious moral. A nun tells an anti-Semitic story about the murder of a young martyr by Jews. A doctor's story of an unwanted marriage and the murder of her daughter by her father has a similar motive. the author ofThe Canterbury Storieshe has created a truly impressive body of work in which so many different stories coexist, also in literary genres. Not surprisingly, this work is included in the list of the most important works of world literature.

Give on time! Get your 100% personalized paper in less than 3 hours. Let us begin

author implications

In this work, Chaucer exposes vices of contemporary England such as blackmail, greed and idleness. These vices are more typical of the powerful: the English nobility. The prosperous corruption of the upper class led to the bloody peasant uprising at Wat Tyler in 1381. There is an opinion that in this way Chaucer expressed his attitude towards this uprising and all classes of English society.canterbury tales(Agbabi, 2018). This unusual way of telling stories is still finding resonance in current research, attempts are being made to rewrite the Canterbury stories in a modern way.

Chaucer is considered one of the founders of classical English literature. He was one of the first to present the institution of chivalry not as an ideal of loyalty and honor but as an object of irony and satire. Also representatives of ecclesiastical culture, which England in 13.-14. The author shows us a new side, unexpected and far from ideal. And only the common people, represented by the lower classes, remain honest with the reader: they are not bound by the chivalrous codes of honor and morality of the Bible and never hide them.


Chaucer captured this fine line of irony in the social order: the upper echelons of society promote honor and loyalty, but they themselves do not measure up. Unlike the English nobility, the lower classes are the unvarnished voice of truth. Also at that time palaces and churches were built to glorify the triumph of God and man. But at the same time, the same person was at the center of inexorable political decisions. A person became a victim of trade, disease and poverty. In such a paradoxical world, Chaucer became a comedy writer. The author's humor was revolutionary for the turbulent times of fourteenth-century London. Despite the tragic personal fate of the author, Chaucer's work is discussed today by scholars and scholars of literature. His personality and his works had a great impact on the culture of England.


Agbabi, P. (2018). Stories in English of verses: a cross-cultural approachcanterbury tales.Compass of Literature, 15(6), 1-8.

(Video) The Canterbury Tales | Summary & Analysis | Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer, G. (2012).The Canterbury Stories. Imprenta Broadview.

Cooper, H. (2017). Chaucer's sources and analoguescanterbury tales: job review.Studies in the Chaucerian era, 19th century(1), 183-210.

Olson, Pensilvania (2017).Canterbury tales and good company. Princeton University Press.

We will provide you with a paper tailored to your needs. Save 15% on your first order Take advantage of the discount


What is an example of social satire in The Canterbury Tales? ›

The social satire that the Host sets up in the General Prologue continues throughout the tales that the pilgrims tell. The Nun's Priest's tale satirizes courtly love by putting chivalry in the setting of a barnyard. Supposedly pious religious figures are shown to be corrupt and greedy just underneath the surface.

How is Canterbury Tales a social satire? ›

Similarly, Chaucer satirizes cultural norms in The Canterbury Tales, using humor to point out significant problems in medieval English culture. For example, his exaggerated praise of the Monk as “extremely fine” contrasts amusingly with the lengthy description of the Monk's horses, greyhounds, and hunting gear.

Why do you think social satire is one of the major themes in The Canterbury Tales? ›

The corruption of the Catholic Church was a serious problem during Chaucer's time and a major theme in The Canterbury Tales. Through the use of satire, he reveals this problem to an audience. The author sometimes deliberately exaggerates the shortcomings of religious leaders.

What is an analysis of Chaucer's use of satire in The Canterbury Tales? ›

Geoffrey Chaucer uses satire to reveal corruption, critique patriarchy, and appraise class and nobility. Chaucer 's use of satire aided him on revealing the corruption of the church. In his story, “The Canterbury Tales,” he shows that many members of the church use their positions for their own personal gain.

How do you write a social satire? ›

Five Things You Should Know About Writing Satire
  1. Don't be afraid of exaggeration. ...
  2. Make the normal appear abnormal or vice versa. ...
  3. Flip things on their head and subvert them. ...
  4. Use the art of imitation to take the mickey. ...
  5. Don't worry about being laugh-out-loud funny.

Why is Canterbury Tales called a social satire? ›

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is sometimes called an estates satire, meaning that it satirizes the three estates, or sociopolitical groups in England at the time he was writing.

Is social satire a theme? ›

Social satire is a genre of film that relies on irony, exaggeration, ridicule, or humor to critique an unfavorable aspect of society and/or human nature. The best social satires are entertaining at the surface level – often featuring elements of fantasy or absurdism – and also pack a critical punch.

What are the social issues in The Canterbury Tales? ›

The Canterbury Tales Themes
  • Social Satire. Medieval society was divided into three estates: the Church (those who prayed), the Nobility (those who fought), and the Peasantry (those who worked). ...
  • Competition. ...
  • Courtly Love and Sexual Desire. ...
  • Friendship and Company. ...
  • Church Corruption. ...
  • Writing and Authorship.

Which character are satirized in Canterbury Tales? ›

In the Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer, satire is shown in many characters throughout the poem. The Friar, Monk, and Pardoner may seem like normal, and worthy people, but their true colors will show. Satire brings out the true characteristics of each character.

What social types did The Canterbury Tales represent? ›

What social types did The Canterbury Tales represent? All social types: clergy, nobility, the middle classes, and businesspeople.

What is the main point of satire? ›

Satire is a genre in which exaggeration, irony, humor or ridicule are used to criticize and expose flaws in human nature and behavior. In addition to being its own genre, it is a literary device often used to critique politics and topical issues.

What is the main idea of satire? ›

satire, artistic form, chiefly literary and dramatic, in which human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, parody, caricature, or other methods, sometimes with an intent to inspire social reform.

What are the 4 techniques used in satire? ›

Satire is a literary work that ridicules its subject through the use of techniques such as exaggeration, reversal, incongruity, and/or parody in order to make a comment or criticism.

What are the 4 elements of satire? ›

Four Techniques of Satire
  • Exaggeration. The first step to crafting a successful satire is figuring out what you want to exaggerate. ...
  • Incongruity. ...
  • Reversal. ...
  • Parody.

What are the 3 elements of satire? ›

Target --Who (a person or group) or what (an institution or ideology) the satirist is satirizing or targeting. Antithesis – a figure of speech with strongly contrasting words or ideas. Caricature – a person's features may be caricatured.

What is a simple example of satire? ›

What do Catch-22, The Colbert Report, and The Onion have in common? They're all examples of satire. Satire offers political and social commentary, using exaggeration, irony, humor, allegory, and more to make a point.

What is an example of satire story? ›

Gulliver's Travels, written in the eighteenth century by Jonathan Swift, is an example of Horatian satire in literature. The work is a spoof of the kind of travelogues that were common at that time.

What is an example of satire in a sentence? ›

Political satire has become an easy laugh. Him with the hair and the podcasts brings his sharp political satire back to the stage. The people who live here are belittled with irony and satire for their neat ambitions and their careful pleasures. The most middle-class form of middleclass humour is satire.

How is Summoner satirized in Canterbury Tales? ›

In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, the Summoner is a Church official who abuses his power to extract bribes "off the books," making his profession one that is disparaged and considered corrupt. He also controls the younger people in his diocese and makes them do what he wants.

How does the society represented in The Canterbury Tales? ›

Its vivid portrayal of a diverse group of travelers reveals much about the composition and values of society in late medieval England. It shows us shifting dynamics of social power, an economy in flux, and diverse expressions of faith and doubt within late medieval Christianity.

Why is social satire important? ›

Satire matters for more than one reason, but its main goal is to raise people's awareness about the current state of affairs and to challenge their viewpoints by using humor and irony. It helps us confront the unpleasant reality and see the world as it is, so that we can improve it.

What are the 5 elements of satire? ›

  • Paradox (dilemma or puzzle)
  • Antithesis (direct or opposite)
  • Parody (caricature)
  • Violence (brutality)
  • Vividness (Clarity or intensity)
  • Exaggeration. (overstatement/Hyperboly)

Which piece of writing is an example of satire? ›

“A Modest Proposal,” by Jonathan Swift

This 1729 essay by Jonathan Swift is one of the most famous examples of Juvenalian satire, a type of satire that's more searing and darker than its counterparts.

What are the two main types of satire? ›

Horatian satire: Focuses on human behavior and its paradoxes. Juvenalian satire: Commonly targets social conventions and mindsets.

What three things did Chaucer criticize in Canterbury Tales? ›

The tales that manifest Chaucer's critique the most effectively are “The Friar's Tale,” “The Summoner's Tale,” and “The Pardoner's Tale.” In all three of these stories the characters are corrupt church officials revealing their true natures and their greed by taking advantage of the common folk they are bound to serve.

What are the five social issues mentioned? ›

Poverty, unemployment, unequal opportunity, racism, and malnutrition are examples of social problems. So are substandard housing, employment discrimination, and child abuse and neglect.

What are 3 themes found in The Canterbury Tales? ›

The Canterbury Tales Themes
  • Social Class. One present theme throughout The Canterbury Tales is the importance of social status during Chaucer's time. ...
  • Deceit. Deceit is a reoccurring theme in The Tales involving the Miller, the Merchant, and the Pardoner. ...
  • Religion. ...
  • Social Satire. ...
  • Courtly Love. ...
  • The Significance of Company.
Aug 31, 2022

What is Chaucer satirizing with the Miller? ›

Here, Chaucer satirically tells the reader the dangers of existing societal norms. Chaucer also satirizes language and religion in Miller's tale. Miller's tale is a careful fabliau that mocks the existing societal norms in suburban Oxford through a mix of comic tricks and serious stories.

Why does Chaucer satirize the Monk? ›

The Monk in ''The Canterbury Tales'' defies expectations of the poor and dutiful Church officer. By depicting his monk as enjoying a lavish lifestyle, Chaucer provides a critique of the clergy in this period.

What kind of satire does Jonathan Swift use? ›

Swift uses a specific satire called Juvenalian. It means "any bitter and ironic criticism of contemporary persons and institutions that is filled with personal invective, angry moral indignation, and pessimism" (Britannica, 1998).

What part of English society does Chaucer want to portray in The Canterbury Tales? ›

Chaucer gave a portrait of English society, including representatives of feudal society, members of the clergy and the middle classes.

What is the social and literary significance of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales? ›

The Canterbury Tales is considered Chaucer's masterpiece and is among the most important works of medieval literature for many reasons besides its poetic power and entertainment value, notably its depiction of the different social classes of the 14th century CE as well as clothing worn, pastimes enjoyed, and language/ ...

What aspect of society was Chaucer making fun of in The Canterbury Tales? ›

Answer and Explanation: Satirizing aspects of medieval society is part of Chaucer's intent in The Canterbury Tales. In the case of "The Merchant's Tale," the key target of this satire is the old man January, who fails to keep the attention of his young wife.

What is satire short answer? ›

Satire is the art of making someone or something look ridiculous, raising laughter in order to embarrass, humble, or discredit its targets.

Which type of satire criticizes society? ›

Horatian Satire

A 'farce' or a 'comedy of errors' could both, for instance, have a Horatian feel, but it's not unknown for Horatian satires to dabble in satirising prevailing social attitudes (such as poking holes in philosophical positions and societal norms).

What is social satire in literature? ›

Satire is a style of fictional representation (literature, drama, film, etc.) that makes use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize the behavior of people, particularly in a social or political context.

What are the key elements of satirical writing? ›

Satire is a writing style that often educates and entertains its readers.
7 satire techniques
  • Exaggeration. ...
  • Incongruity. ...
  • Reversal. ...
  • Parody. ...
  • Irony. ...
  • Anachronism. ...
  • Malapropism.
Jun 1, 2021

How does satire change people's behaviors? ›

Satire is always a critique of some form of human behavior, vice, or folly, with the intent of persuading the audience to view it disdainfully and thereby encourage a degree of social change. Irony. Satire uses irony, often in a humorous way, to point out the problems with the behavior being critiqued.

How do you explain satire to students? ›

Humor directed at human folly, vice, pomposity, or nonsense is called satire. Animal House not only satirizes fraternities but also pokes fun at pompous college officials. Satire has a long history in literature and drama.

What is social satire in Gulliver travels? ›

In “Gulliver's Travels”, there is a satire on politics, human physiognomy, intellect, manners and morality. In the first voyage to Lilliput, Swift satirizes on politics and political tactics practiced in England through Lilliputians, the dwarfs of six inches height.

What characters are satirized in The Canterbury Tales? ›

In the Canterbury Tales written by Geoffrey Chaucer, satire is shown in many characters throughout the poem. The Friar, Monk, and Pardoner may seem like normal, and worthy people, but their true colors will show. Satire brings out the true characteristics of each character.

How Joseph Andrews is a social satire? ›

In brief, Joseph Andrews is a fine social document that represents an inclusive picture of the 18the century English society. The novel directs its satire not only against particular individuals but also against the follies and vices of the entire society.

What are three examples of satire? ›

Satire Examples in Literature
  • Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift, 1726) This popular novel, still read today, is a mock travel journal. ...
  • Brave New World (Aldous Huxley, 1932) ...
  • Animal Farm (George Orwell, 1945) ...
  • Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut, 1969) ...
  • American Psycho (Bret Easton Ellis, 1991)
Dec 20, 2022

What are two examples of satire? ›

Here are some examples of satire:
  • If voting changed anything, they would make it illegal.
  • Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
  • When I was a boy, I was told that anybody could become President. Now I'm beginning to believe it.

What are the 4 types of satire? ›

Four Techniques of Satire
  • Exaggeration. The first step to crafting a successful satire is figuring out what you want to exaggerate. ...
  • Incongruity. ...
  • Reversal. ...
  • Parody.

What is an example of satire in Joseph Andrews? ›

For example, the squire who is fond of hunting hares, tries to satisfy his lustful desire for Fanny taking advantages of her poor condition. The insincerity of the society is revealed by the depiction of the justices, who were as dishonest as the clergymen and the squires.

What is the main theme of satire? ›

satire, artistic form, chiefly literary and dramatic, in which human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, parody, caricature, or other methods, sometimes with an intent to inspire social reform.


1. The Canterbury Tales - General Prologue Video Summary
2. 2-Minute Writer: Satire
(English Nerd)
3. Canterbury Tales | Master piece of Chaucer | Some Important character Analysis with Thier Tales|🎠🏇♥
(V2 in Literature🖋📖)
4. Social satire in the Canterbury Tales | Bengali Lecture | PRC Foundation
(PRC Foundation )
5. Elements of Satire in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, in Urdu/Hindi
(English Lecturer)
6. Irony in the Canterbury Tales
(William Smith)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Reed Wilderman

Last Updated: 04/01/2023

Views: 6199

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Reed Wilderman

Birthday: 1992-06-14

Address: 998 Estell Village, Lake Oscarberg, SD 48713-6877

Phone: +21813267449721

Job: Technology Engineer

Hobby: Swimming, Do it yourself, Beekeeping, Lapidary, Cosplaying, Hiking, Graffiti

Introduction: My name is Reed Wilderman, I am a faithful, bright, lucky, adventurous, lively, rich, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.