What Is Chaucer's Use Of Irony In The Canterbury Tales

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Ironic Humor Geoffrey Chaucer is often considered to be a master of irony and satire. His ability to describe his characters through ironically praising them is considered a masterful tool in The Canterbury Tales. Often the techniques used to portray the characters include examples of how a character takes pride in their flaws and misdeeds. Chaucer even goes as far as to praise the characters for their awful traits. Because of Chaucer’s successful approach to irony, the reader must distinguish what he is saying from what he is meaning. Most of the irony used in The Canterbury Tales comes from the descriptions of each pilgrim. Every pilgrim is given a specific back story describing their appearance, their career, and their morals. These characteristics are often always depicted using satire and irony. Examples of this is when a character is introduced to the reader by their profession, and then shown how that characters actions do not represent their profession like they are supposed to. This is the case when the reader is first acquainted with the Prioress.…show more content…
From Chaucer’s description, there are many instances that irony is used. He points out how dainty the Prioress acts. She eats without letting a single crumb drop and she wipes her face so thoroughly that “not a trace of grease could be seen (138).” Chaucer continues to describe the Prioress by pointing out that she “is by no means undergrown (160).” This is referring to her as being overweight. Now instead of the Prioress appearing dainty for not letting a single crumb drop as she eats, it lends to the fact she is a large woman indulging too much. Another female pilgrim in the story is the Wife of

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