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The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer by: 1 1340s (ish) - 1400.

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Presentation on theme: "The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer by: 1 1340s (ish) - 1400."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer by: s (ish)

2 Middle Ages 22 Emperors became more like kings Feudalism: involuntary peasant labor on lands not their own personal bonds and personal law beginning to replace impersonal law common to large expanses of territory Medieval Guilds (exclusive, regimented organizations) The Catholic Church would provide spiritual and moral direction, as well as leadership and material support, during the darkest times of the early Medieval period. Feudalism: The Middle Ages’ social order *Christianity provided the basis for a first unified religion common to most of the continent. Crusades: Popes, kings, and emperors unite and defend Christendom

3 Feudalism-- A system of loyalties and protections Emperors granted land to nobles in exchange for their loyalty. Serfs would often have to work three or four days a week for the lord as rent. They would spend the rest of their week growing crops to feed their families. Other serfs worked as sharecroppers. A sharecropper would be required to turn over most of what he grew in order to be able to live on the land. Peasants could no longer count on the Roman army to protect them. German, Viking and Magyar tribes overran homes and farms throughout Europe. These nobles would have peasants/serfs work the land for them on their land because: 3

4 Important Events… 100 Years War with France  Many deaths and strife throughout England Peasants’ Rebellion (remember Robin Hood)  The underprivileged lived a life of unhappiness, turmoil, and hunger. Corruption in the Catholic Church  Many followers began to lose some faith. Power struggle between Pope and King  This aided to the faith lose throughout the land. And, of course…. 4

5 5 THE BLACK DEATH! Between 1349 and 1350, England lost nearly half its population to the Black Death. ACK! I got the Black Death from the rat! Technically, you got it from the fleas ON the rat… that jumped off and bit you, so you know. Don’t blame the poor rat. Important Events… It was easy to catch, painful to have, and deadly almost all the time.

6 Father of English Poetry The Canterbury Tales is considered Chaucer’s masterpiece Chaucer was the first writer to use English in a major literary work He spoke Middle English  A mixture of Old English (Anglo-Saxons) and Old French (Normans)  Middle English differs from Modern English in the pronunciation of the words Chaucer’s Language 6 Let’s look at some examples:

7 Chaucer’s Language: The Shift Middle English Sounds like Modern y,i "myne, sight" "meet" e, ee "me, meet, mete" (close e) "mate" e "begge, rede" (open e) "bag" a, aa "mate, maat" "father" u, ou "hus, hous" "boot" o, oo "bote, boot" (close o) "oak" o "lof, ok" (open o) "bought" Vowels shifted upwards; vowel that was pronounced in one place in the mouth would be pronounced higher up in the mouthshifted People used to spell words how they sounded, but now they had a more standardized written/spoken language Now: to the story… 7

8 The Canterbury Tales Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote When April with its sweet-smelling showers The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, Has pierced the drought of March to the root, And bathed every veyne in swich licour And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid Of which vertu engendred is the flour; By the power of which the flower is created; Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth When the West Wind also with its sweet breath, Inspired hath in every holt and heeth In every holt and heath, has breathed life into The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne The tender crops, and the young sun Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne, Has run its half course in Aries, And smale foweles maken melodye, And small fowls make melody, 8 That slepen al the nyght with open ye Those that sleep all the night with open eyes (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages), (So Nature incites them in their hearts), Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, Then folk long to go on pilgrimages, And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, And professional pilgrims (long) to seek foreign shores, To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes; To (go to) distant shrines, known in various lands; And specially from every shires ende And specially from every shire's end Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende, Of England to Canterbury they travel, The hooly blisful martir for to seke, To seek the holy blessed martyr, That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke. Who helped them when they were sick. The Canterbury Tales is written in Middle English. Click the star to hear a sample.

9 Canterbury Tales He depicts a 14th century England populated by peasants, tradesmen, knights, and clerics, most of whom appear to be healthy and well fed. But the 14th century in which Chaucer lived was one of plague, rebellion, and corruption. Chaucer writes the tales around We are off on our pilgrimage! Hurray! We are so healthy and well fed and happy! Wait! No we’re not! Was that a rat?! Did I just get the plague? I think I hear a rebellion! Let’s move!

10 Canterbury Tales There are two key literary techniques Chaucer incorporates: 1) A Frame Tale – a story that provides a vehicle, or frame, for telling other stories (More details on next slide.) *The voice of the poet-pilgrim himself, Chaucer – introduces us to other pilgrims *The person of “The Host” of the Tabard Inn *The conversations that occur between the tales, among the Host and the pilgrims, and the pilgrims themselves 2)An Estate Satire – a literary technique used to highlight the foibles of a society and its particular people in the hopes of exacting some sort of change; it is sarcastic and sometimes often biting *Prioress, Monk, Friar, Clerk, Parson, Summoner and Pardoner (with the Clerk and Parson being exceptions) have lives that seem to be very removed from what might be expected in people of their calling *Chaucer’s commentary on how he views the religious system of the medieval time period The style… 10

11 Keep in mind with a framed story: a group of smaller works are put together in a framework. Each has a relationship to others. The piece is hooked together with important themes. Characters tell the stories in forms appropriate to them, using different verse forms.* The Canterbury Tales 11 The style… *Yes, that means poetry. Thus, the theme of the pilgrimage = life means that the hardship of pilgrimage = hardship of life We experience all the various “hardships” of life through this work. To use such a diverse group of narrators, whose stories are interlinked by characters talking with each other, revealing much about themselves

12 A group of thirty people travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England) to see the shrine of Sir Thomas Beckett. The pilgrims, who come from all layers of society, tell stories to each other to kill time while they travel. The Canterbury Tales 12 The set-up… Chaucer intended that each pilgrim should tell two tales on the way to Canterbury and two tales on the way back. The Canterbury Tales has been passed down in several handwritten manuscripts. Thus, scholars are uncertain about the order of the tales. He never finished this large task… Only twenty-four tales were composed before Chaucer's death in A rich, tapestry of medieval social life combines elements of all classes, from nobles to workers, from priests and nuns to drunkards and thieves. P.S. They meet at the Tabard Inn

13 The Canterbury Tales The set-up… The pilgrim’s occupations reflect different aspects of the 14th century society Feudal System Knight, Squire, Yeoman, Franklin, Plowman, Miller, Reeve Religious Life Prioress (Nun), Monk, Friar, Clerk, Parson, Summoner, Pardoner Trades and Professions Merchant, Sergeant of Law, Five Tradesmen, Cook, Skipper, Doctor, Wife of Bath, Manciple, Host 13

14 The Canterbury Tales 14 The story… 1) General Prologue consists of character sketches of each member of the group that is going to Canterbury, as described by the narrator. (1st person speaker) Some believe that the narrator IS Chaucer… I’ll leave that up to you. The fiction suggests that Chaucer is an observer of the scene, who accurately records the appearance, the stories and the conversations of the company. He is not responsible for what is said, nor how it is expressed. 2) This was a familiar and fairly popular journey. People did combine with strangers into traveling companions for safety. Each character is described as a representative of his or her own social group, which covers the social spread of 14th-century England (Highly unlikely that such a varied group as Chaucer describes would have existed) (No representatives of either the aristocracy or the true peasantry, an unskilled land-worker)

15 Fable – teaches by providing a moral at the end Parable – a brief story that parallels a more general moral lesson Exemplum – a specific example of a general rule: it is supposed to prove a point by showing the truth of some moral rule Verbal Irony – exists when a person says one thing while meaning another Situational Irony – exists when the outcome of a situation is opposite of what someone expected Dramatic Irony – occurs when the audience or reader is aware of something that the character does not know Direct Characterization – writer telling the reader what the character is like (i.e., stupid, silly, kind) Indirect Characterization – writer shows the reader what the character does, says, thinks, or feels and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about what the character is like The Canterbury Tales The Lit. Terms… 15

16 Questions? You will need to know this information. muhahahahahaha! 16


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