Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,
So estatly was he of his governaunce
With his bargaynes and with his chevyssaunce.
For sothe he was a worthy man with alle,
But, sothe to seyn, I noot how men hym calle.
– Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales, General Prologue. The Merchant is described as a fashionably dressed character with a forked beard, who likes to boast about and show off his wealth and status. But his fancy clothes, hat and boots hide the fact that he is in debt, which he goes to great pains to cover up and conceal and so is not all he appears to be. Chaucer also has another swipe at him when he says he has forgotten his name. In his representation of the Merchant, Chaucer appears to be satirising England’s up-and-coming, new middle class.