English Literature (Chaucer and Shakespeare) the Images Term Paper

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English literature (Chaucer & Shakespeare)

The Images of Ideal Faith and Love: A Comparative Analysis of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales ("Pardoner's Tale") and William Shakespeare's Love Sonnets (Sonnets 18, 116 and 130)

Fifteenth to sixteenth century- English literature is characterized by the expression of radical idealism, whether this idealism pertains to social issues or human emotions. Geoffrey Chaucer, who was well-known for his work "The Canterbury Tales," exemplified the English poet of his period (14th-15th centuries), demonstrating through his famous work his ideals on religion and expression of faith. On a relatively similar vein, English playwright William Shakespeare (16th-17th centuries) reflected the same belief of idealism, this time in the form of expressing human emotions, most popularly evoked in his (love) sonnets (Sonnets 18, 116 and 130).

This paper discusses the theme of idealism reflected in the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare. The discussion and analysis will demonstrate how both their works illustrate the prevalence of each author's ideals: for Chaucer, his ideals on what religion and expression of faith should be like, and for Shakespeare, how love is and should be.

While both poets have the theme of idealism as their dominant feature in their works, each also has his own manner of expressing this theme. That is, while Chaucer demonstrated the theme of idealism through real-life scenarios, via his characters' narratives, Shakespeare showed his 'version' of idealism through effective imagery.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on English Literature (Chaucer & Shakespeare) the Images Assignment

Influenced by the ideology of idealism during his time, Chaucer reflected his ideals of Christianity and its followers through The Pardoner's Tale of "The Canterbury Tales." Like the other tales in "Canterbury," the Pardoner's tale is a satire meant to criticize the society that Chaucer lived in during his period. While in some of the tales, Chaucer did not explicitly expressed his disagreement with and criticism of the rampant corruption and hypocrisy within the Church and among its elements (the clergy and the lay), in the Pardoner's tale, these issues were addressed and made explicit through the persona of the Pardoner.

The Pardoner's role, at first glance, acts as 'bridge' between the Church and the people: as the Pardoner, he helps people be absolved of their sins through payments -- payments that are considered earnings of the Church. What sets him apart from the other pilgrims in "Canterbury" is that he has been honest in showing that despite his being an agent of God, he is not untainted by the culture of corruption and hypocrisy that are already rampant within the Church and the society. His honesty and recognition of his faults as an agent of the Church are explicitly shown in the following lines from the Pardoner's tale:

By this trick have I won, year after year,

An hundred marks since I was pardoner.

A stand like a clerk in my pulpit,

And when the ignorant people are set down, preach as you have heard before And tell a hundred more false tales

My hands and my tongue go so quickly

That it is joy to see my business

Of avarice and of such cursedness

For my intention is only to make profit,

And not all for correction of sin.

From this passage in the Pardoner's tale, it is clear that Christianity is used as a tool to "legalize" the acts of corruption similar to what the Pardoner has been doing. Moreover, the religion is also used to develop the psyche of hypocrisy that has been developing over the years as a result of rigid conservatism and strictness of the Church when it comes to imposing rules and traditions to its followers. The Pardoner acts as a "devil's advocate" to both the Church and the followers. As a Pardoner, he helps people be absolved from their sins in exchange for money, allowing people to go back to their hypocritical ways once they have 'secured' absolution from the Pardoner. For the Church, the Pardoner acts as a collector who solicits money from the people, perpetuating, meanwhile, the culture of corruption that have made the clergy more powerful, rigidly conservative, and unreasonable in their actions and resolutions when it comes to imposing orthodox behavior and attitudes.

From the Pardoner's tale, Chaucer was able to extend to his… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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