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Chaucer sometimes describes like characters together but often his descriptions seem to call for responses or judgements based on the contrasts between the pilgrims Write an essay that assesses the quality and function of this contrasting of characters with particular reference to two or three pilgrims In the Canterbury TalesGeoffrey Chaucer provides us with a cast of characters that illustrates a cross-section of society A knight and his Squire a Lawyer and his wealthy landowner friend a collection of Clerics including a well-fed Monk and a half-starved Oxford Scholar are just a few examples While some of these pilgrims with similar characteristics can be grouped into small sub-groups for instance the Knight Yeoman and Squire Chaucers descriptions appear to call for judgements based on the contrast between the pilgrims as a larger group At first glance the Canterbury Tales can appear as a simple travel story with a religious message the work is really a study of humanity Chaucer presents us with stereotypical though exaggerated figures of everyday life in fourteenth century England and while hoping to entertain us with these characters also expects us to make assessments on each of the pilgrims moral condition Chaucer provides us with a moral platform from which to judge these pilgrims in his first portrait The Knight is the first pilgrim discussed in the General Prologue and is the first to tell his tale this is simply an illustration of Schuttes law which states that first place is accorded to the person most worthy of respect The portrait of the Knight in the General Prologue is one of the rare portraits spared Chaucers mocking irony When Chaucer says A Knight ther was and that a worthy man line 43 he literally means that the Knight was a man worthy of respect A direct comparison can be found in the Merchants portrait For sothe he was a worthy man with alle 285 The irony in this line
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