Presentation on theme: "Christianity and The Canterbury Tales in Medieval England"— Presentation transcript:
1 Christianity and The Canterbury Tales in Medieval England Sr. Amelia Breton&Ms. Michele L. Hanna
2 British Events of the Early Medieval Period 1066: Saxons defeated at Hastings by Normans1073: Canterbury becomes England’s religious center1170: Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, is murdered by King Henry II’s men1386: Chaucer begins writing The Canterbury Tales
3 Political Atmosphere in Medieval England Introduction of the French political and economic system of feudalism as a result of the Norman invasionKing - center of governmentLords/Overlords – landowners that owed military service to the KingBarons/Vassals – sublet land from LordsKnights – given smaller manors by barons in exchange for military serviceCommoners or serfs - the lowest class of Medieval society provided the physical labor for the land in exchange for food and protectionGeoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales incorporates all main levels of Medieval society – the Church, the Court, and the common people
4 Social Atmosphere in Medieval England Chivalry – code of knightly behaviorThree ideals:GodKingLadyA period of cultural refinement through the discovery of luxuries from exotic landsThe founding of Oxford and Cambridge gave rise to a broadening of intellectual horizonsLife is centered around the castle
5 Religious Atmosphere in Medieval England During middle ages the church was the main focus of community life.The Parish Priest was assigned by the manor and was obliged to keep up the church and provide hospitality to travelers.The priest was a commoner by birth. Serfs were not allowed to become priests because they were tied to the land.
6 Parish IncomeThe priest earned his living from the income for parish lands, fees for services, and the tithe money. Tithing was obligatory and it was divided between the priest, the church maintenance, the poor, and the bishop.Peasants had little money so they paid with what they produced; seeds, grain, etc.
7 The Church’s WealthThe church had great control over the people. The peasants worked for free on the church land. What the church collected was kept in tithe barns where a lot of the stored grain would be eaten by rats.If the peasants failed to tithe they were told by the church that their souls would go to Hell.
8 Church’s Wealth Continued People had to pay for baptisms, marriages and burials. This is one of the reasons why the church was so wealthy.This picture now a museum, was a tithe barn in Kent.
9 Monks’ Faults and Contributions In the 12th and 13th centuries there were many monasteries where monks or nuns lived a simple life of prayer and work. They were criticized for their laxity and involvement in worldly affairs.Monks printed and preserved many books.They kept ancient literature sometimes at a great cost to themselves.
10 1170: Murder of Thomas a Becket 1073: Canterbury Cathedral becomes England’s religious centerHenry II appointed his friend Thomas a Becket as Archbishop of CanterburyHenry appointed Becket hoping that he would overlook some of the King’s abuses of powerWhen Becket did not go along with the King, some of Henry’s more zealous knights murdered Becket in the cathedral at CanterburyIn order to atone for Becket’s murder, Henry made a pilgrimage, a holy journey, to Becket’s tomb at CanterburyThereafter, a pilgrimage to Becket’s shrine at Canterbury became a common English means of showing religious devotionGeoffrey Chaucer, in The Canterbury Tales, uses the vehicle of the pilgrimage to bring together people from the 3 main segments of Medieval society
11 Geoffrey Chaucer 1343?In his own lifetime he was considered the greatest poet, and he is currently considered, by many, second only to Shakespeare in achievementsHe began as a page for one of King Edward III’s households, served in the army and held key government positions throughout his lifetimeHe married a lady-in-waiting to the QueenHe began to write in his twenties and continued to do so for the rest of his lifeHe was the first person to be buried in what is now the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey
12 The Canterbury Tales: Facts Written in Middle English verseIt is a frame story – a story that includes, or frames, another story or storiesChaucer’s frame is the pilgrimage, which he originally planned as a round trip but remains incompleteWithin this frame are 24 individual stories the pilgrims tellIt is a series of verse stories told by different pilgrims, from many walks of life, on their pilgrimage to St. Thomas a Becket’s shrine at Canterbury CathedralIt is the most accurate depiction of the life and values of people in Medieval 14th Century England
13 Satire in The Canterbury Tales Satire – writing that shows the folly or evil of something through the use of wit and humor; a literary device employed to ridicule public or private abusesChaucer uses satire to ridicule the corruptness of the Church in England in the Medieval Period
14 The 5 Main Religious Characters in The Canterbury Tales Prioress - the nun ranking just below the abbess in an abbeyDuring the Medieval Period, this position was usually bought by women of the nobilityMonk – religious men that secluded themselves from society to perform religious and intellectual dutiesFriar – a part of the clergy that used to beg for the poorMost friars were corrupt and surrounded by scandal in the Middle AgesPardoner – one who sells papal pardons which were believed to take some time off of one’s stay in PurgatoryThere was an epidemic of illegitimate pardonersParson – a priest in a rural villageConsidered the bottom of the social ladder
15 The PrioressShe is the first character to be gently satirized because she does things that nuns are not supposed to doAt the time, nuns were not supposed to go on pilgrimagesShe dresses fashionably and nuns are supposed to dress conservatively“Her veil was gathered in a seemly way”Her mannerisms (the way she speaks, eats, etc) are characteristic of the noble classShe had “a courtly kind of grace”Overall, she is gently satirized because she is rebellious in matters of discipline and not moral matters
16 The MonkHe is also gently satirized because he is neglectful of discipline but not of moral mattersHe considers the rules for monks old-fashioned and out-datedHe “took the modern world’s more spacious way” and “the Rule … he tended to ignore”He is a hunter, however, monks are not allowed to hunt“hunters are not holy men”He is on a pilgrimage but monks were supposed remain in seclusion at their monasteryHe didn’t believe that “a monk uncloistered is a mere Fish out of water”He dresses elaborately but monks were supposed to dress the same, in minimalist clothing“his sleeves were garnished at the hand With fine gray fur, the finest in the land”
17 The FriarStrongly satirized because he is corrupt and goes against moralityHe only hears the confessions of the rich so he can charge them and also use their confessions as grounds for future blackmailBy only dealing “with the rich” a “profit might occur”He engages in behavior unfit of a Friar“He knew the taverns well in every town”He keeps, for himself, most of the money he collects for the poorHe makes a “decent living”
18 The Pardoner Also strongly satirized for despicable behavior He is an illegitimate pardoner who gets rich by selling fake religious relics and pardons to those wanting to atone for their sins“His wallet lay before him on his lap, Brimful of pardons come from Rome all hot”Even Chaucer’s physical description of him is harsh“In driblets fell his locks … like rat-tails”He even sells fake relics to “poor up-country parsons” who are fellow clergymen
19 The ParsonHe is a true shepherd of the people in his poor rural communityHe is considered to be at the bottom of the religious ladder, however he is at the pinnacle of the spiritual ladderHe was poor but “rich in holy thought and work”He, unlike the other religious figures in lofty positions, believes in all his teachings and follows themHe “truly knew Christ’s gospel and would preach it … but followed it himself before”He is poor because he gives all of his money and goods to his people, instead of becoming rich off of them
20 Works CitedBabusci, Roger, ed., et al. Prentice Hall Literature: The English Tradition. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1989.Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Canterbury Tales.” Prentice Hall Literature: The English Tradition. Ed. Roger Babusci, et al. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1989.Other pictures were sent via from Miss Parmigiani.Some material was obtained from notes taken in Dr. Patricia Michaels British Literature I class.