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A person can almost wholly learn the history of the world though literature that has been written. This is because the people and times have such a great influence on the writers and their work. Authors did not simply grab ideas from the sky. These ideas came from their mind; they wrote about what they knew. And what they knew is what surrounds them, whether it be war, peace, or a time of transition. In the early centuries, religion ruled the land and people. The first rulers came about from the idea that God or some other Supreme Being from up above sent forth these people to rule over the land. Literature from these times was highly influenced by religion. Almost every piece of work up until the 18th century contains some kind of religious reference. Evidence of the role and impact of religion in society is shown in the epic poem Beowulf of the eighth century and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales of the fourteenth century.

The time in which Chaucer lived was "one of the most disagreeable periods of our national history" (Legouis 80). The Black Death destroyed a third of the population and many people turned to the church for help. Goeffery Chaucer, being "the great poetical observer of men, who in every age is born to record and eternize" (Blake 51), wrote The Canterbury Tales in the late fourteenth century in England. Religion dominated this time period in history; and therefore, it played a huge role in literary work. The Tale's plot is based on a very religious practice, a pilgrimage. The narrator of the Tales starts out by saying that he is "ready to go on my pilgrimage to Canterbury with a most devout heart" (Chaucer 3). A pilgrimage is a very sacred aspect of religion. It is an act of religious devotion, where a person or groups of people travel to a holy site in honor of a religious figure (Quinn 76).

Almost every literary work ever produced at the time that Chaucer lived had religious undertones. This was because of the simple fact that "the church was the fountain of literacy and sole purveyor of what education there was during these centuries"(Vinson 8). The church was the law. If someone went against what the Bible said, then you went against the government. One might assume that if the Bible...

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