Aesop’s fables are tales of moral value. They introduce to the reader things not to do, and how to get out of certain situations. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer follows along the same lines. Each character in the book has moral values that are looked down upon, with everything from polygamy, to dishonesty and cheating.
An unmoral act or having unmoral qualities is something which is looked down upon and considered impure by not only others, but also you.Each character tells a story, which has a moral contained in it. These stories to some would be considered extremely vulgar and distasteful to be reading. On the other hand, these stories are showing precisely what a world would look like without any moral values what so ever, and how much a society depends on their morals.
Although many of the stories are spoofs on the previous tale, becoming less tasteful, more vulgar, and more illicit than the previous, they contain moral values. There are several stories in The Canterbury Tales that illustrate a moral valueIn the Pardoners tale, the theme is that greed is the root of all evil. When three men discover bundles of coins, they all plot to kill each other so that their share of the money is greater, each dying in turn by the others hand. Their death was caused only by their greed for the money. There is a modern saying that “money is the root of all evil”. This relates to greed because money causes greed, as is seen in the Pardoners tale. If they didn’t find the money, and realize just what it meant, their greed wouldn’t have formed and no one would have died.
A quote in The Pardoners Tale, shows just exactly how greed takes over, “My wit is greet, though that I bourde and play. This tresor hath Fortune unto us yiven(sic) in mirth and jolitee our life to liven- and lightly as it cometh so wol we spende(sic). Ey! Goddes(sic) precious dignitee(sic)! We wende today that we shold(sic) han so fair a grace?” line 450. The men do not realize what this money will do, they automatically beginning discussing spending it and how luck they are. Eventually, the greed will set in, as they realize that a bigger share of the money can be theres, and they will stop at nothing, even taking a friends life, in order to receive the money.
The Knight’s Tale is a story of two men, cousins, who battle against each other for the love of a woman. There has been an old saying, that love conquers all. There is to be a tournament between the two men, Arcite and Palomon, for the love of the woman, Emeley. Being of a religious time, both men pray to a god for assistance in the tournament to win Emeley’s love. Palomon, the man who truly loves Emeley prays to the god of love, Venus, for help in winning the battle.Arctie, who merely wants to win Emeley for the sake of saying he won the battle, prays to the god of war, Mars.
In the end, love conquered all and Palomon won Emeley even though Arcite won the battle. “Love conquers all” was the moral of this story. Without love, none of this would have happen.
Love is a major part of human society, as everyone is destined to find the one they love to spend the rest of their lives with. If a person understands that love conquers all, it will benefit them by finding the one they love. The person that understands this knows that love will find them and if they truly do love someone, they will become theirs.In the Reeves tale, a miller cheats two men out of what they paid for. To get back at him, they sleep with his wife and daughter.
Not only is cheating people out of money a horrible act, but more so is sleeping with a married woman and a young unmarried girl, especially in the time period. It seems to be that the heinous acts of the young men is over looked, as in the end, they receive the cake made out of the flour they were cheated out of, and don’t get injured in the fight like the Miller does. Despite this information, there is still a moral in the story, to not cheat others.
This moral seems to over ride a moral of not coveting another mans wife, in order to get the point across of not cheating others. This is probably because cheating others is more used and known than sleeping with a man’s wife.In the Nun’s Priest’s tale, the rooster Chanticleer, is flattered by the fox and almost loses his life to him. Luckily, the rooster flatters the fox, the same way he was captured and gets away from him. “Never to trust a flatter” is the moral of the story. Trusting a flatterer can get a person into situations that they do not want to be in, as Chanticleer proved. The moral of the Nun’s Priests Tale is specially stated in the story when Chanticleer says, “‘Nay then’, quod he, ‘I shrew us both two, and first I shrew myself both blood and bones, if thou gequile me ofter than ones! Thou shalt namore thurgh thy flatterye do me to sing and winken with mine eye.
” Line 606, he is telling the fox that he has learned his lesson and will not fall for flattery again. This story is a hint to the reader, that all of the tales contain a moral, and all of them should be taken to heart.Many people would believe these stories to be mere entertainment, as they are vulgar and contain unappealing acts. At a closer view it is obvious to see that each story contains a moral in life, and each tale has very cleverly put that moral into a story for all to learn from. Morals are what run a society and a lack of morals would prove chaotic to a society. Chaucer puts into words what would happen if society had no morals.
There would be rape, trickery, cheating and illicit sex around ever corner, which is what each tale contains. Therefore, The Canterbury Tales are immoral and vulgar in content, but not at all in meaning, as they give moral value to its readers.