The Canterbury Tales is an outstanding piece of art that has remained popular for almost seven centuries. Wondering what secret lies behind its popularity? It masterfully reflects the social life of medieval England. Such an accurate description of social order attracts millions of readers.
The Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer, is a prominent collection of stories. Pilgrims tell these 24 tales as a part of a story-telling contest. Chaucer depicts a variety of characters from different social classes. He uses irony and satire to create an ironic portrayal of the English society. All the characters possess certain flaws and are more concerned with worldly things than their spiritual quest. This description significantly undermined the status of the church and social structure. It all combined made The Canterbury Tales a major success in the medieval community. Here’s why:
So, what is the exact reason for The Canterbury Tales’ popularity? It is an unusual and brave criticism of the societal organization. The insights into the common practices and customs were interesting to read. Combined with irony, the fictional work became the reflection of the contemporary world.
The stories also cover a wide variety of highly-debatable topics. They are lies and deception, love and sexual desire, Christianity and corruption in the church, etc. It was a rare occasion for somebody to criticize the common beliefs in society openly. Yet, Chaucer did it in his book. The novelty of the themes and their ironic treatment brought The Canterbury Tales to the central point of discussion.
Moreover, the Canterbury Tales were astonishingly popular because they were written in English. In medieval times, literature was mainly written in either French, Italian, or Latin. Thus, The Canterbury Tales significantly contributed to the English language promotion.