Architype Characters in “The Canterbury Tales”


Describe archetype characters in Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales?”



An archetype is a typical or perfect specimen, unlike stereotype, an oversimplification of someone or something. However, in The Caterbury Tales, character stereotype and character archetype function nearly the same. Let’s consider such archetypes from the poem, for instance:

A common and typical archetype is the knight; his tale is very popular among readers. Since knight is associated with knighthood and knights, thus would be recognizable to readers of the poet.

Another archetype is hypocritical friar, who is intended to serve the religious duties with honesty, trustworthiness and humbleness. Friars usually travel from one place to another, unlike monks who stay at monastery. It shows friars need to count on other people’s generosity for lodging and food. So, friar is not different in The Canterbury Tales, when readers learn that he accepts bribe.

Monk is another example of an archetype. He is a man of God focuses on work and prayer. Much like friar, Chaucer portrays his character as a typical hypocritical clergyman of his time. Who does not focus on prayer and religion, but love to drink, eat and hunt.

Miller is also an archetype. These guys generally have reputation for not being cheats and are cheats. His tale is quite insulting about everybody.