Chaucer uses irony to describe the faults and shortcomings of


Chaucer’s Use of Irony

Chaucer’s use of irony is often used to describe the faults and shortcomings of people and society. For example, in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”, Chaucer’s irony is used to describe the hypocrisy of the Church. Chaucer also uses irony to make social and political commentary, as seen in “The Canterbury Tales”.

The Pardoner’s Tale

The Pardoner’s Tale is a story told by a pardoner in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. The pardoner’s tale is about three young men who vow to kill Death in order to prevent their own deaths. However, the three men are eventually killed by their own greed and stupidity. Chaucer uses irony to describe the faults and shortcomings of the three main characters in the tale.

The Wife of Bath’s Tale


The Wife of Bath’s Tale is fraught with irony. Chaucer uses irony to describe the faults and shortcomings of the characters in the tale, as well as to make a commentary on the social conventions of the time.

The first instance of irony in the tale is when the knight, who has been sentenced to death for his crimes, is saved by a mystical creature. The creature tells him that he can have his life spared if he can answer a question: “What do women most desire?” The knight knows not the answer, and so he sets out on a quest to find it. He meet s many women along the way, each of whom tells him a different answer. In the end, he returns to the creature empty-handed. It is only then that he learns the true answer: women most desire power over men.

This ironic twist serves two purposes. First, it shows how ignorant the knight is of women’s true desires. Second, it highlights the social convention of male power over females. At this time in history, women were seen as property of their husbands and had no real power in society. The Wife of Bath’s Tale subverts this convention by showing that, even though they may not have had societal power, women still desired it.

Chaucer’s Criticism of the Church

Chaucer was a 14th century English poet who is well known for his ironic wit. In his poem “The Canterbury Tales”, Chaucer uses irony to describe the many faults and shortcomings of the Church. For example, he describes the hypocrisy of the Church officials and the greed of the monks.

The Pardoner’s Tale

The Pardoner’s Tale is a critical examination of the Roman Catholic Church during Chaucer’s time. In the tale, a group of young men venture forth on a pilgrimage to rid themselves of the sinfulness and corruption they believe has taken hold of their souls. Along the way, they are lured into an inn by a shady character known as the Pardoner. The Pardoner proceeds to tell them a moralizing story about three young men who set out to kill Death after he has taken their loved ones. The moral of the story is that greed is the root of all evil, and that no one can escape death.

While on the surface, it may appear that Chaucer is simply critiquing the Church for its love of money and power, he is actually using irony to reveal its hypocrisy and corruption. For example, in the tale, the Pardoner tries to sell indulgences (a practice sanctioned by the Church) to the very same people he is trying to teach a lesson about greed. In addition, Chaucer also pokes fun at other aspects of Church doctrine, such as confession and penance. By using irony and satire, Chaucer exposes the flaws in the Church’s system and calls for reform.

The Wife of Bath’s Tale

The Wife of Bath’s Tale is a satire of the Church’s treatment of marriage and women. Chaucer uses irony to describe the faults and shortcomings of the Church. He also pokes fun at the idea that women are not capable of making their own decisions.


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