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Friday, March 4 QW #6 – social class Canterbury Tales Notes.

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1 Friday, March 4 QW #6 – social class Canterbury Tales Notes

2 Today’s Goals Discuss characterization/social class
Learn helpful historical background information for The Canterbury Tales Review the literary devices Chaucer uses (satire, frame story)

3 QW #6– Social Class How is RHS divided into social groups? How can you tell who is in which groups? Do people pick their groups or are they assigned in some way? Can you move from one group to another with ease or is it difficult? How do the members of each group relate to members of other groups?

4 Introduction to The Canterbury Tales
Characterization Classicism Medieval social structure Changing times Social satire

5 Characterization The process by which a writer reveals the personality of a character Can be direct or indirect Narrator can tell us Describe how looks/dresses Character’s words/actions Reveal character’s thoughts/feelings Showing how others respond to, think about, or speak about the character

6 Classicism Clergy Nobility Peasants Women (sorry, ladies) Ruling class
Aristocracy Fighting class Peasants Middle class (not recognized) Trade class (not recognized) Peasantry class Women (sorry, ladies)

7 Rigid structure Attempts to move from one group to another was considered against the laws of nature and of God.

8 The Three Estates Men were classed according to what they did
Those who pray Those who fight Those who work

9 Men and Women Women were classed according to their relationship to men Virgin Wife Widow

10 Changing Times Renaissance approaching Science progressing
Greek literature rediscovered Democracy Capitalism encouraged social change Chaucer wrote “Tales” as satire

11 The Canterbury Tales Written as “estates satire”
Shows each of the three estates and portrays the ideal members of each, as well as the problems with the social structure Publicly exposed corruption Written in Middle English

12 Geoffrey Chaucer Father of English poetry
Before Chaucer, serious poets would not write in English – felt that English could not convey the nuances & complexities of serious literature Well-known gov’t official under Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV

13 Why else is Chaucer important?
CT, similar to Italy’s Decameron, uses a frame device Strength of spirit & personality – “In a dark, troubled age, he was a comfortable optimist, serene, full of faith.” (John Gardner)

14 As we read… Keep in mind that it has been said that Chaucer defends one true virtue…charity – the good man’s willingness to give the benefit of the doubt, to find some nobility in even the most wretched & deplorable of people . Do you believe this is true?

15 Pilgrimage Religious journey made to a shrine or a holy place
Pilgrims = many stations & many stages in life CT begins pilgrimage in spring = why symbolic?

16 Murder of Beckett Friend of King Henry
Named Archbishop as means to control the Church Murdered by King’s men when he defied King’s authority

17 Pilgrimage to Canterbury
Beckett was very popular Quickly made a saint Homage at his tomb

18 “Frame” Tale Over twenty characters traveling together to Canterbury
Inn’s Host challenges them to each tell a story on the way to Canterbury The best story wins a free dinner Premise provides a “frame” within which to hear the stories.

19 “Frame” Story Includes # of different narratives
Outer story (pilgrimage) unites traveler’s individual tales (inner stories) Tales themselves have thematic unity

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