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The Medieval Church and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

In discussing Chaucer's collection of stories called The Canterbury Tales, an interesting illustration of the Medieval Christian Church is presented. I think that the Medieval Church was full of corruption, and Chaucer depicts this corruption through The Pardoners Tale. At the same time as the corruption, there can also be an argument for the opposing side stating that the church is not corrupted. This can be shown with the character of the monk from The Monk’s Tale. While people demanded more voice in the affairs of government, the church became more corrupt and this corruption also led to a more crooked society. In history then, there is a two way process where the church has an influence on the rest of society and of course, society influences the church. This is naturally because it is the people from a society who make up the church....and those same people became the personalities that created these tales of a pilgrimage to Canterbury.

The Christianization of Anglo-Saxon England was to take place in a relatively short period of time, but this was not because of the success of the Augustinian effort. Indeed, the early years of this mission had a discrepancy which shows in the number of people who hedged their bets by practicing both Christian and Pagan rites at the same time, and in the number of people who directly didn’t want to believe at all when a Christian king died. There is certainly no evidence for a large-scale conversion of the common people to Christianity at this time. Christianity did not initially provide a unifying element but was by the later seventh century to provide the basis of a structure of organization, which overreached the frontiers of the individual, highly competitive English kingdoms(Making 15). Augustine was not the most diplomatic of men, and managed to antagonize many people of power and influence in Britain, who had never been particularly enthusiastic to save the souls of the Anglo-Saxons who had brought such harsh times to their people. In their isolation, the British Church had maintained older ways of celebrated the major festivals of Christianity, and Augustine's effort to force them to conform to modern Roman usage only angered them. When Augustine died (some time between 604 and 609 AD), then, Christianity had only an insecure hold on Anglo-Saxon England, a hold that was limited largely to...

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Category:   Literature

Length:   12 pages (2,778 words)

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