Religion

Religion: The true data question is whether these characters bring religion into their stories and how often they refer to religion and if their parable stories are related to religion at all.

A screenshot using Voyant of the over all look the Canterbury Tales
Voyant overview of the Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales has many different tales and words like God, Grace, Noble, and love was used throughout the book. The five main characters that I focused on for religion, are the Friar, the Squire, the Monk, the Nun’s Priest, and the Second Nunn tales. As with any comparison a tool must be used to identify the likes and differences and how each tale interacts with each other. The Voyant program will give us a visual view to see how these tales line up with each other. Voyant is a word graph that shows the frequency of how words appear in the book and primary with the five main characters of the religious angle of this portion of the project.

Voyant graph for main keywords in project
Voyant graph for main keywords in project

The use of the word God is used throughout the book but the five stories that deal with the word God is used at different levels of frequency. The Friars tale uses the word God more than the others, while the Squire tale may use it the least. The Squire’s tale may also be the least religious of the five stories I chose. Becker wrote, “The word Squire what is the meaning, by the fourteenth century, squire was not only for young men who had not yet attained the status of Knighthood, but also for gentleman whose social status was not high enough ever allow entry to Knighthood.” The other three tales used the word but to a lesser degree

The use of the word Grace is pronounced in the Second Nun’s tale. According to Barrington,  “this may be the most religious tale of all and probably the quietest pilgrim narrative of all the tales.” The other four tales used the grace or did not use the word at all. The word grace was more a concept or feeling in the stories than a verbalization.

The word Noble probably best fit the Squire’s tale as it speaks to respectability, rather than religious order and the spiritual effects of the main character tales in the isolated stories. In contrast the Monk’s story was not about nobility as much as corruption of the characters in the story and how the Monk tries to discredit the Summoner. Hsy said, “The Monk tale also points to his view of disability and whether a person is doomed by this tragic condition.” The graph shows a lack of use of this word within the general text of the tales and the five main characters that are being individually explored.

The final word Love, next to God is the strongest word you could refer to as a religious affirmation of all the stories in the Canterbury tales. The use of the word love and the use of parables as seen by Mueller in “the Nunn’s Priest’s tales was a use of fables as a moral tool to improve the lives of humans by using animals as a representative of good and evil.” The stories all deal with love or its opposite and how it relates to each other. The main graph and the other graphs show the comparison between the different words and how they relate to each story. “All this is reflected in the Friar’s tale that makes an easy distinction between reaction and response impossible and therefore confounds between nonhuman compulsion and human freedom of choice” according to Steel.

The use of Voyant shows the words chosen in a visual graph form that shows the connection between the five characters and how they relate to the questions of whether all five are religious or if the parables are as Jesus used parables in the Bible. My conclusion is that the Squire story is not religious. The story of the farm animals in the Nunn’s Priests tale is not a religious parable but more just an animal representing a human with a favorable ending. The other three main characters have religious characteristic that are emphasized throughout the tales.

Voyant bubble graph of keywords
Voyant bubble graph of keywords
Voyant graph of main words from the Canterbury Tales
Voyant graph of main words from the Canterbury Tales