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“Canterbury tales”. Introduction Wrote in Middle English First writer to write in English for the common man, not French or Latin, the languages at that.

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Presentation on theme: "“Canterbury tales”. Introduction Wrote in Middle English First writer to write in English for the common man, not French or Latin, the languages at that."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Canterbury tales”

2 Introduction Wrote in Middle English First writer to write in English for the common man, not French or Latin, the languages at that time preferred by scholars Chaucer was middle class, public servant. The Canterbury Tales: best contemporary picture of 14 th century England Frame Story: story that provides a vehicle for telling other stories (stories within a story)

3 Introduction “The Prologue”: introduction of diverse group of characters, including narrator Tales characters share on pilgrimage to Canterbury Canterbury: site of shrine to St. Thomas à Becket His tomb became popular pilgrimage destination Pilgrimage: journey taken to a place with religious significance

4 Introduction Pilgrimage brings together 3 main segments of medieval society: Clergy Nobles Common people: Narrator (Chaucer),Wife of Bath Basis for the frame story: The host proposes that each pilgrim will tell 2 stories on the way to Canterbury Winner of the contest will have free meal paid by all other pilgrims

5 “The Miller’s Tale” Genre: A fabliau (pl., "fabliaux"), a French invention that depicts bourgeois characters in satirical or openly comic plots involving unlikely and complex deceptions, usually concerning sex and/or money. Satirized bourgeois society. Low-class setting and figures, explicit sexual immorality. Husbands, especially older men with younger wives, are regularly duped.

6 End of the Knight’s Tale, Host asks the Monk to match it. Knight: highest social standing among the pilgrims. Epitome of chivalry. Described as distinguished. Miller (157): Ground grain for customers (adding his thumb to the scale increased his fee for grinding) Fatty-cakes (over 220 pounds); wart on his nose Compared to a sow, a fox, an old sow’s ear, & a furnace door: dirty. Lecherous: tells the bawdiest story on the journey Plays the bagpipes as they leave London

7 Miller interrupts, drunk, promises that he has a tale that will repay the Knight’s tale. Miller reminds everyone that he is drunk and therefore shouldn’t be held accountable for anything he says. “I will tell a legend and a life of a carpenter and his wife, and how a clerk made a fool of the carpenter.” “he is no cuckold who has no wife”

8 Narrator: don’t blame me! Turn the page if you don’t like it. Introduction of the characters. John – carpenter. Nicholas – student, living with them. Studies astrology. Skilled in secret love. Sly. Description of his room: books,

9 Astrolabe for measuring the position of planets and stars. Musical instruments. Carpenter’s newly wedded a wife, “eighteen years of age, whom he loved more than his own soul. He was jealous, and held her closely caged, for she was young, and he was much older and judged himself likely to be made a cuckold.”

10 “Men should wed according to their own station in life, for youth and age are often at odds.” Physiognomy: a science that judged a person’s character based on his or her anatomy or exaggerated facial features. Her body was as graceful and slim as any weasel. She had a lecherous eye; her eyebrows were arched and black as a sloe berry. She was more delicious to look on than the young pear-tree in bloom, and softer than a lamb’s wool. Little doll.

11 Her singing as loud and lively as a swallow’s sitting on a barn. She could skip and make merry as any kid or calf following its mother. Her mouth was sweet as honeyed ale or mead She was skittish as a jolly colt Tall as a mast, and upright as a bolt.

12 John goes out of town, Nicholas makes his moves. “And secretly he caught hold of her genitalia and said: “Surely, unless you will love me, sweetheart, I shall die for my secret love of you. And he held her hard by the thighs and said, “Sweetheart, love me now, or I will die, may God save me!” But this Nicholas began to beg for her grace, and spoke so fairly and made such offers that at last she granted him her love. Important to keep the relationship a seceret.

13 Alisoun goes to church. Absolon - parish clerk. His hair was curly and shone like gold, and spread out like a large broad fan. His complexion was rosy. He was a sweet lad. He could dance in twenty ways. He was some-what squeamish about farting and rough speech.

14 Cast many longing looks at wives at church, as he was incensing them. Had a love-longing in his heart. Sings under Alisoun’s window at night. “From day to day this jolly Absalom wooed her until he was all woe-begone. He remained awake all night and all day, he combed his spreading locks and preened himself, he wooed her by gobetweens and agents, and swore he would be her own page; he sang quavering like a nightingale; he sent her mead, and wines sweetened and spiced, and wafers piping hot from the coals”

15 Alisoun takes Absolon’s wooing as a joke. Nicholas devises a plan that will allow him and Alisoun to spend an entire night together. The flood. Alisoun and Nicholas sleep in the carpenter’s bed. Absolon passes by. “My fair bird, my darling! Awake, sweet cinnamon, and speak to me. You think right little upon my sorrow, who sweat for your love wherever I go!”

16 The kiss. Dark as pitch, or as coal, was the night, and at the window she put out her hole, and Absolom, who knew no better or worse but with his mouth he kissed her naked ass so sweetly, before he was aware of this. He started aback, and thought something was amiss, for well he knew a woman has no beard. He felt something all rough and long-haired. The payback. His hot love was now cold and entirely quenched; for from that moment that he had kissed her ass, he cared not a straw for things of love, for he was healed of his sickness.

17 This Nicholas had risen to take a piss, and he thought he would contribute to the joke; he should kiss him before he ran off! And he threw up the window in haste and quietly put his ass out, past the buttocks, all the way to the thigh- bone. Thereupon spoke this clerk Absalom, “Speak, sweet bird, I know not where thou art.” This Nicholas then let fly a fart as great as a thunder-clap, so much so that with the stroke Absalom was almost blinded; and he was ready with his hot iron and smote Nicholas on the ass.

18 “Water!”, “Alas! Noah’s flood is coming now!” The carpenter is mad. People laugh at him. Thus the carpenter lost his wife, for all his watching and jealousy; and Nicholas was sore burned. This tale is done, and God save the entire company.

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