Presentation on theme: "Characters of the Canterbury Tales"— Presentation transcript:
1 Characters of the Canterbury Tales Chaucer’s “Prologue” toThe Canterbury Tales
2 Knight Distinguished Followed chivalry Truthful, honorable Ridden into battleHonored for his gracesFought in many battlesModest, not boorishA true, perfect knightHe represents all that is good about knighthood and nobility.Good example from the nobility.
3 Squire Lover Curly locks Fought in nearby battles so he could get home to see the ladiesSang, danced, wrote poetryCould “joust and dance”“Loved so hotly that till dawn grew pale/He slept as little as a nightingale”Was courteous and serviceable when father was aroundPlayed the flute or sand all day.Fresh as the month of May.
4 Yeoman Wore coat & hood of green Was servant to knight, yet a freeman Feathers were perfectly made in arrowsKnew his business as an archer and did it wellShowed proper religious respect by wearing St. Christopher medalWas a “proper forester”Good example from the middle class
5 Prioress (Nun) Coy (falsely modest, flirtatious) Known as Madam Eglantyne (common heroine for romance novels of the Middle Ages)Tried to exude grace, manners, and sophistication, but spoke a very poor quality of FrenchOwned hunting dogs (not proper for her).Was overly upset when a mouse died (tender hearted).Fed dogs roasted flesh and fine food while people were starving
6 Prioress (Nun) Glass-gray eyes (deceptive) Forehead was “fair of spread” (but a span from brow to brow--very large woman)Cloak had a graceful charm (another reference to large features)Jewelry with “Amor vincit omnia” (Love conquers all) which may have meant romantic love, not God’s
7 Monk Riding a horse, which he was not to do. Had a stable full of horse.Ignored rules of his orderHe did not rate that text which says that hunters are not holy menExpensive clothing (fur on sleeve) when monk is to be poorFat (opposite of his vows)Glittering, bulging eyesHeard the jingling of his bridle whistling as do the chapel bells.
8 Friar Would butt down doors with his head “Fixed up” marriages“Intimate” with city damesClaimed to have license from Pope to hear confessions--charged money as penanceGifts to girlsKnew taverns and barmaids wellWhite neck, lispWanton (lecherous)Would butt down doors with his headBegged money even from poorest, whom he was to help.He lisped when he talked or sang.
9 Merchant Forking beard Gave many opinions Dabbled in exchanges Seemed stately but...Was in debt and no one knew it from the way he talkedPompous and shrewd.Self-made man.
10 Oxford Cleric (Student) Hollow lookThreadbare clothingCould not find a job in the churchWas too unworldly for secular employmentBorrowed money from friends, never repaidWas “book smart” but “life dumb”Starving for learning’s sake.Seldom spoke, but what he said was clear.
11 Sergeant at the Law One of 20 “traveling judges” in Chaucer’s day Was an experienced lawyerExpert on real estate lawAll was “fee-simple” to his strong digestionFound loopholes in law to deprive heirs of their landCould argue cases either way with impunityWas a busier man never found, yet he seemed busier than he was.
12 Franklin Wealthy landowner Lived for pleasure, particularly “Epicurean” delightsEnjoyed his food, had a table prepared all day long
13 Haberdasher, Dyer, Carpenter, Weaver, and Carpet-Maker – The Guildsmen Treat all of theseas a single characterThe key to understanding them istheir wivesThey LOOK great (new looking gear which was bought used)• their wives “declared it was their due” whether the men believed it or notWives wanted to be called “Madam” and to be “seen” -- like a queen
14 Cook Could distinguish London ale by flavor (which was quite cheap) Had ulcer on his knee (shin) (probably from cooking at open pot)Could roast and bake and broil and boil and fry.Made good thick soupMade good blancmange (yellow-white, thick, creamy chicken soup--much the color of what might be in the ulcer)
15 Skipper Rode a farmer’s horse well (an insult) Ignored conscience Skin was tanned (a mark of low breeding)Stole wine while the trader sleptIgnored conscienceMade his prisoners “walk the plank”
16 Doctor Grounded in astronomy, as most doctors in the Middle Ages were “All his apothecaries in a tribe…”He loves his gold.“...each made money from the other’s guile.” did not read the BibleKept the gold he won in pestilences
17 Wife of Bath (woman from Bath) Tight, red clothingHad five husbands, all at the church doorGap-teethLarge hipsHeels spurred“Knew the remedies for love’s mischance'sShe could weave so well, that even in Flanders, I believe, you could not find her match.
18 Parson Served the poor Gave own money Practiced what he preached Lived Christ’s gospel every day.Holy-mindedPoorLearnedDevoutPatientNobleA shepherdVirtuous rich in holy thought
19 Plowman Honest worker, good and true Followed the GospelSteadily went about his workHelped poor from loveAlways paid his tithes in full when dueLoved God best and his neighbor as himself.
20 Miller Told filthy tavern stories “Stole” grain with his “thumb of gold”Played bagpipesGreat stout fellowBoasted he could heave any door off the hinge or break it with his headRed beardWart on end of noseWeighed 224 poundsA wrangler and buffoon
21 Maniple Buyer of food for the 30 Knights of the Temple (lawyers) Got to market early to get best valuesWas illiterateWise in practical matters, thoughLived debt free on what he “saved”Fooled all the lawyersGot rich on fat commissions
22 Reeve Was a carpenter Supervisor of the serfs Good manager Was gathering in the lord’s own wealth.Supervisor of the serfsCalfless legsNo one ever caught him in arrearsKnew the serfs’ dodges, so they feared himBetter at bargains than his lord
23 Summoner Face like a cherubim Carbuncles and pimples Black scabby brows, thin beardFrightened the childrenAte garlic, onions, leeksBrings offenders against the Church to court.Knotty white or pimples on his cheeks.Drank wine ‘til all was hazyTook bribes: quart of wine or “favors” from women“for like a parrot he was really dense; he’d learned the words, but could not grasp the sense.”
24 Pardoner Hair yellow, long Bulging eyeballs Carried pardons from Rome, he saidCould not grow a beardCarried a wallet filled up to the brim. With pardons hot from Rome, and relics old
25 Pardoner “I judge he was a gelding, or a mare.” Gobbet of Peter’s sail Pigs’ bonesSang Offertory wellAlways worked
26 Host Served finest victuals Bright eyes, wide girth Suggested the tale-telling contestPrize would be a meal for the winner paid for by the othersEveryone stayed at innReturn trip would mean another round of meals and lodgingHe would be sole judge of the talesAccompanied the pilgrims to Canterbury