Satire humour and irony in the prologue
Yet most of us rarely feel that Chaucer is disintegrated, even when our rational processes, working with inappropriate models, reproach him for his inconsistencies.
The Free Dictionary define Humour as: The quality of being funny. However, Chaucer, as an ironist and satirist, is not out to reform people, but he surely finds amusement in the absurdities, affectations, and some of the minor vices of the people he deals with. Though a Prioress, she indulged in love-making.
Chaucer makes a sly dig at her tenderness when he says that she is so charitable and tender-hearted that she would weep if she saw a mouse caught in a trap.
He cannot possibly mean that.
The Monk, too, is portrayed satirically. It modifies the "true" meaning, if only by asserting that even the underlying meaning is not the only competitor for our assent; or by establishing a limited validity even for simple mindedness.
He is conscious of all these and does pinpoint them in the poem, but in a manner which is subtle and varied. They happily agreed to let him join them. The travelers were a diverse group who, like the narrator, were on their way to Canterbury. Only when the reverse of such a truth is displayed as though it were veridical, can they be shocked into understanding it.
Role of irony in canterbury tales
Its absence accounts for a certain 'middle-aged' quality, a lack of passion—indeed, Borrow seems to renew the old Arnoldian accusation of a lack of high seriousness. As such that he apparently stands by the ideas of the Monk, concerning the monastic rules. In fact, throughout the General Prologue the reader has to be on his guard against Chaucer's seeming enthusiam towards each of his pilgrims, realising that his irony operates obliquely through praise that is characteristically lavish and unstinted, whether sincere or not. Here Chaucer's seeming praise is doubly ironic. Men are not angels, but neither are they devils. We look through the eyes of a poet masculine, self-assured, delighted, who knows there is "joy after woe, and after joy, sadness 'but is not at the moment concerned to point it out. No effort is exercised by the author to create humour. Satire is found in the world of Chaucer, but it is rarely coarse, seldom severe, and never savage. It is now time that we should ask ourselves as to what extent Chaucer was influenced by classical and medieval traditions of satire. The test of a humorist is his readiness to laugh at himself as much as at others and Chaucer emerges successful in this test. But if Chaucer is too tolerant and genial, too little of a preacher and enthusiast, for a satirist, his wit has often a satiric turn. His humor is not tinged with fierce and biting satire. We desire certainly above all things, and we admire commitment. Listening to it, intelligent men think, "That cannot be true.
The irony is highlighted by the conflict between appearance and reality. The theme of the Wife of Bath's prologue is tribulation in marriage—particularly the misery she has caused her five successive husbands.
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