No one can question the artistic excellence in Chaucer’s writings. His poetry unlocks his acceptance as a matchless satirist and humorous ironist.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s dramatic approach to literary art reveals his satiric technique. Even works of his contemporaries like William Langland and John Gower display enough satiric elements. But most of them get expressed mainly with a sense of eloquence. Moreover, their satiric technique comprises indictment and moralising. And there is very little chance for a reader to form his own opinion from it.
On the contrary, Chaucer’s works naturally unlock a place to help readers build their opinions. The British poet presents the follies and vices with an ironical touch of humour and satire. And so, the readers always feel the urge to pinpoint the real meaning behind every Chaucerian depiction. Several literary experts believe that Chaucer’s satire is much more implicit than others’.
For instance, one apparent praise can contain a hidden satiric intention. Yes, the poet doesn’t preach irony directly. But still, it unfolds the door for logical thinking. His words can merely display the presence of the vicious and wicked on this earth. But, his expression is so meaningful and precise that it makes readers think the same way the poet does. And, most importantly, readers feel less or no urge to incite any argument in this significant and subtle thinking. The reason behind it is Chaucer’s genius in realistic and imaginative creations. And this is how he appears as a supreme satirist.
The close association between Chaucer’s broad vision of life and his humour is evident in his writings. His words depict him as a man with tolerance and sympathy. For that reason, his satire never appears as portraying any severe indictment. Even neither it contains any acute criticism or abuse, or invective. In a word, his true humanistic nature helps form his humour and satire. And this frame of mind, with a touch of hilarity, prevents his realism from appearing as sullen and bitter.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s works manifest the British poet’s love for the human world and humanity. His mastery in understanding human nature is incomparable. And that is why his poetry doesn’t hesitate to accept the human world as it is.
His association with human nature and the power of empathy helps to shape his viewpoint. His “comic vision” of human life is indeed valuable. It portrays the poet’s touching commonsense consisting of exceptionally unique moral sense, pathos, and wit. And these traits design and shape the principle of comedy.
Also, the ironic vision of Chaucer is prevalent in his enormously popular long poem, The Canterbury Tales. He is perhaps the only poet with the potency to draw warm feelings for humans while detaching them from their self-deceptions. His irony acts as the consequence of the amused observation and never becomes a tool to vent anger. It reveals how his thoughtful, sharp-edged knowledge enables his “humorous acceptance” of human foolishness and wickedness. It seems as if the poet never disregards folly and vice but accepts them as inevitable or unavoidable. His observation and perception help colour his satire, irony, and humour.