Friday, April 30, 2010

What do you 'think'? How did people of different classes 'think' differently?

What do “you” think? Why do people think differently and what does their social class have on their opinion? People think differently because social classes are what separate people from thinking in unison. In Medieval times, after the Roman Empire fell, the people were divided into social classes. Here is a short video clip of the feudal system in the middle ages: There were peasants, merchants, knights, clergy, barons, and a lot more. The peasants and serfs were the lowest on the social scale while the knights, clergy, and barons held higher positions. The king had ultimate power. Since there was no way out of your social class, the thoughts of one person were passed down to their children and family members. If you were born a serf, your thoughts would be cruel and unjust because serfs were treated like slaves. In contrast, a king’s thoughts would be in high spirits because he reigned over several groups of people. A person’s level of social status determined their every day thoughts, how they were treated, as well as the actions they preformed.

Peasants and merchants were classified into the same working class. Peasants were just seen as worthless but in reality they were needed to harvest the farmland and sell goods to the nation. Merchants had conjured up a thought in their minds that if they made a plethora of money, they could move up on the social scene although that was false. They couldn’t move up in rank, but they could make large sums of money. A story in the Canterbury tales, explains this with a carpenter. It says, “A wealthy lout who took in guests to board, And of his craft he was a carpenter. A poor scholar was lodging with him there, Who’d learned the arts, but all his phantasy, Was turned to study of astrology”. ( The carpenter could not move up in rank, even though he possessed the skills and money to do so. Merchants made even more money when they joined together. Different types of merchants included butchers, bakers, dyers, shoemakers, masons, tanners, and some other kinds.Merchant guilds were formed because merchants found that they could get more quality work accomplished when they collaborated” ( Each different type of merchant had its own guild. Therefore, peasant’s and merchant’s opinion on the world was that it was unfair that they could not move up in rank even though they made good money and had the skills to be successful.

A knight was a member of the warrior class in the Middle Ages, who followed a code of chivalry. ( Knights were gentlemen, and they practiced chivalry, which means that they were honorable, loving, and loyal to their people. “What with his wisdom and hid chivalry, he gained the realm of femininity that was of old time known as Scythia. There he wedded he the queen, Hippolyta” ( Knights of medieval times were asked to "Protect the weak, defenseless, helpless, and fight for the general welfare of all”. ( At the age of 7 years old, a boy was sent off to live with another knight or lord, often a friend of his fathers. The boy would serve as a page to the lord, learn “good manners, reading, writing, numbers, singing, dancing, strumming the lute, reverence for God, how to use a sword, and how to ride a horse” ( Knights were highly respected so their thoughts would be positive and affirmative. They would see the world as a fair and wonderful place because they had a great life ahead of them filled with honor, glory, and grandeur.

Clergy in middle ages included priests, nuns, monks, and other clergy. Nuns were the women who devoted their lives to God. “She never ceased, as written do I find, to pray to God, and love Him, and to dread, beseeching Him to keep her maidenhead” ( Clergy were important to the Middle Ages and Medieval times because they were not only close with God but they were scholars. People respected the clergy and held them on a pedestal because the churches and monasteries were centers of learning. During the later middle ages, clergy instituted religious vows which required knights to use their weapons chiefly for the protection of the weak and defenseless, especially women and orphans, and of churches. ( The social class of clergy had thoughts of stability and order because their lives were orderly and stable. As long as everyone remained faithful to God and the church, the clergy’s outlook on life and the social system was tolerable.

All in all, people think differently because we are all unique in a certain way. Everyone has a different brain that works the same but thinks differently. Even if serfs were classified with other serfs, they were all individuals. People of the Middle Ages certainly had opinions about life and the world but it never changed the rules. Social classes were their way of life. The way the people thought about their particular class was based on their treatment, and how their rank was respected. If a person was a peasant or merchant their opinion on life would be dreary and depressing. If a person was a knight or king their opinion would be much more full of life and joyful because they were higher up on the social scale. A social class depicted every aspect of life why not influence every one of a person’s thoughts as well?

Image from:
"Chaucer's Canterbury Tales ~ Presented by ELF." Chaucer's Canterbury Tales ~ Presented by The Electronic Literature Foundation. Web. 03 May 2010. .
"Chaucer's Canterbury Tales ~ Presented by ELF." Chaucer's Canterbury Tales ~ Presented by The Electronic Literature Foundation. Web. 03 May 2010. .
"Guilds." Web. 03 May 2010. .
"Knight." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 03 May 2010. .
"Knight." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 03 May 2010. .
"Knighthood." Web. 03 May 2010. .

1 comment:

  1. Focus more on bringing in those primary sources. Not only do they help support your argument, primary sources also give us the true voices of the people who actually lived through that era.