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Social Structure of the Canterbury Tales

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Shaun Gentilin

on 13 February 2015

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Transcript of Social Structure of the Canterbury Tales

The Feudal System of the Middle Ages
Peasantry consisted of the plebeians and low class workers such as bakers, and farmers.
This group was made up of Dukes, Duchesses, Barons, and Knights.
During the Middle ages, society was split into five basic social groups. People were categorized and grouped according to their occupations. These groups were similar to the social classes that are present in our society today. The five groups were Royalty, Nobility, Church, Merchants, and Peasantry. However, the nobility and clergy were often interchangeable.
Works Cited
"The Three Estates." The Three Estates. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2015.
by Shaun Gentilin, Sneha Kumar, and Paige Bzdyk
In The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, these groups were present. Before the story-telling commenced, the "host" declared that the tales would be told according to social class standing.

This group was made up of Kings, Queens, Princes, and Princesses.
The members of this group were at the highest social standing.
"Social Classes in the Middle Ages." Social Classes in the Middle Ages. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2015.
Social Grouping
They had complete rule and authority over the land.
The members of this group were second highest in social standing during the Middle Ages.
The nobility were those who were close to the king. Their job was to serve him either directly or indirectly.
In the Canterbury Tales, the knight was the first to tell his tale due to the fact that the other pilgrims were members of either the clergy or peasantry social groups (both of which are lower than the nobility group).
money, power, land
The royalty was strictly restricted to only royal blood.
Although we got an outlook on the structure in the prologue, the stories most certainly did not follow the hierarchy throughout the novel.
The nobility is supposed to be undoubtedly respectful an devout, as portrayed in the novel.
Merchants and Skilled Craftsmen
Merchants and skilled craftsmen came fourth in the social hierarchy of the middle ages.
The merchant is portrayed as a fashionista that is married to who is described as a shrewish woman and regrets it greatly in
The Canterbury Tales.
Skilled Craftsmen tend to include blacksmiths, potters, and architects.
Merchants normally went to markets specifically meant for trade that were usually set up on rural cross roads to avoid taxation.
Even though peasants were the bottom of the social structure, they were often some of the most helpful people.
The baker in
Into the Woods
was ironically a wise men that was hardworking, respectful and a man that, in the end, saved everyone.
A plebeian is a fancy SAT word for a towns person, or commoner
Pattie, Tammy, Life In The Medieval Castle Was Governed By The Pyramid-Shaped Feudal System., This Was Based On The Belief That The Land Belonged To God - But That The Kings, Who Ruled, and By Divine Right, Managed The Land And Used It As They Wished. The Kings Needed The. "Medieval People." Order Which the Medieval Feudal System Was as Follows:Royalty (2001): n. pag. Iscacamp. Web. 8 Feb. 2015.
In all, the social structure of the middle ages was rigid and primarily based on occupation. As you got higher in the social pyramid, money, land and power increased.
Interaction Between the Classes
(Those who Pray)
For the most part, the classes were like any other hierarchy. They treated whoever was lower than them as such.
The only possibility of moving up, or down in the pyramid was by marriage. However, it was greatly frowned upon and people often lost respect because of it.
The Prioress is a large woman who tries to be dainty and delicate with everything she does. She has a nun and three priests who accompany her.
The Monk is a manly, yet nontraditional man. Although he is religious, he is also a man of expensive habits and his favorite pastime is hunting.
The Friar is also not very conventional in his religious ways. As a friar, he was pledged to live in poverty, yet he could always gain money from women without trying very hard.
The Parson lives as a very religious Parish priest. He follows everything he teaches and takes his responsibility of priest very sincerely.
The Summoner is someone who summons the people to stand before the court to right their sins.
The Pardoner is someone who sells church pardons around towns and countrysides. However, he is not a man to be trusted.
• "The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story Characters." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 9 Feb. 2015.
(Those who rule)
(Those who serve)
(Those who trade)
(Those who work)
Increase in money, land power, and population
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