Presentation on theme: "W HAT ARE THE C ANTERBURY TALES ? Written by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1381 and 1386 Historically, what was going at this time in England? CT is an example."— Presentation transcript:
W HAT ARE THE C ANTERBURY TALES ? Written by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1381 and 1386 Historically, what was going at this time in England? CT is an example of: Frame story : a story within a story Satire : a literary technique of writing or art which principally ridicules its subject often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change Allegory : an expressive style that uses fictional characters and events to describe some subject by suggestive resemblances
T HE BASIC PLOT A group of English people from various backgrounds go on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, England, to visit the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket. What is a pilgrimage, and why do people go on them? They meet at the Tabard Inn in Southwark. The host, Harry Bailey, decides to create a story- telling contest. On the way to the shrine, they tell one another stories.
T HE PILGRIMS – A RECAP The pilgrims are divided into three social classes for the most part: nobility, clergy, and everyone else (back in the Middle Ages, these are the only classes that existed).
NOBILITY Nobility was the second highest class in the Middle Ages, coming only after royalty. This included knights, lords and courtiers. Noble pilgrims: The Knight, The Squire, and The Yeoman (although technically a servant, he works for the Knight and so is included).
CLERGY In the Middle Ages, the Orthodox Catholic Church received much criticism. Throughout the tales, Chaucer pokes fun at these people involved with the church. The pilgrims: The Prioress (the nun), The Nun’s Priests, The Friar, The Monk, The Parson, The Pardoner, The Summoner, and The Clerk (the Oxford Cleric).
T HE REST Upper, middle, and lower classes were not defined in the Middle Ages. Of course, there were those with more money than others, so the rest can be divided into two subgroups. The “upper” class: The Wife of Bath, The Merchant, The Franklin, The Skipper, The Manciple, The Reeve, The Miller, The Physician, The Lawyer, The Host. The “working” class: The Weaver, The Dyer, The Carpenter, The Tapestry Maker, The Cook, The Haberdasher (The Guildsmen).
T HE GOOD … Chaucer’s tone changes when he describes the different pilgrims. There are some with whom we can find nothing wrong; these are known as the “ideal characters,” or those whom Chaucer created to be morally good. The five ideal characters are The Knight, The Squire, The Clerk, The Parson and The Plowman.
T HE BAD … Chaucer disagreed with MANY of the things the church was doing in the Middle Ages. His clergy characters are almost all shady, greedy and hypocritical; only The Parson is spared Chaucer’s ridicule and mocking. The pilgrims whom Chaucer offends are The Monk, The Friar, The Pardoner, The Summoner, and The Reeve.
A ND THE U GLY. In the Middle Ages, people believed that a person’s physical traits signified his or her moral character. The study of how looks affected personality was considered a “pseudo-science” called physiognomy. The Wife of Bath’s gap tooth signifies sexual knowledge and promiscuity; The Cook’s ulcer (moral disease); The Miller’s wart (lechery/sexual misconduct); The Pardoner’s blond hair (sexual ambiguity).