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"Here bygynneth the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury" 'At night was come into that hostelry Well nine-and-twenty in a company Of sundry folk, by aventure.

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Presentation on theme: ""Here bygynneth the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury" 'At night was come into that hostelry Well nine-and-twenty in a company Of sundry folk, by aventure."— Presentation transcript:

1 "Here bygynneth the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury" 'At night was come into that hostelry Well nine-and-twenty in a company Of sundry folk, by aventure yfall In fellowship... And pilgrims were they all That toward Canterb'ry would ride.'

2 ► Geoffrey Chaucer's pilgrims in his poem, The Canterbury Tales, were by no means unique. They represented the hundreds of thousands who traveled to the Cathedral to pray, repent or be healed at his shrine. (The word canter comes from the pace of the pilgrims' horses as they rode to the Cathedral.) Art by William Blake, 1810

3 ► This collection of fables and bawdy stories are told by a diverse group of travelers on their way to Becket’s tomb. Chaucer describes 'full nine and twenty' pilgrims in a company that gathered at the Tabard Inn to set off to Canterbury that April morning. (Actually there are 30, plus the Host of the Inn who joins them for the ride.)

4 What do the tales show about the values and community of 14 th century England? ► Under Chaucer’s sardonic eye, a group of pilgrims recounts a tale to entertain their companions on the road to Canterbury. These tales and their tellers offer testimony to Chaucer's insight into human nature. (Royal Shakespeare Company) ► Sardonic, adj: mocking, cynical, ironically humorous

5 ► The Canterbury Tales is a cross section of medieval society. Chaucer's interest in middle class characters, such as a cook, carpenter, miller, priest, prioress, pardoner, lawyer, merchant, clerk, and physician reflects the rise of the middle class in the 14th century. ► Chaucer is interested in individuals, their mistakes and individual differences. He is interested in realism and in middle class people -- the merchant class and peasants -- who reflect the rise of the middle class in the 14 th century. ► FYI: The tales’ subject matter includes sex, lust, greed, jealousy, native cunning (tricksters), the gullibility of the stupid, marital problems, infidelity, and corruption of the church. ► Dr. Mary Anne Andrade

6 What is happening in Canterbury today? ► You are likely see more iPods than pilgrims in this funky college town. But even 1,400 years after St. Augustine broke ground, the cathedral still beckons with its history of a martyr and miracles. ► After centuries of architectural evolution, today’s cathedral is a sprawling structure. A modest monument to Becket to the left of the altar marks the spot of his death.

7 Chaucer’s Characterization ► Direct Characterization ► Indirect Characterization

8 Ideal Characteristics ► What characteristics should members of the nobility have? ► What characteristics should members of the church have? ► What characteristics should the working classes have?

9 Now let’s read! ► Page 97 - Take out your study guides and remember to brainstorm for your project as we read (Table for 12 or Newspaper) ► Page 97 - Take out your study guides and remember to brainstorm for your project as we read (Table for 12 or Newspaper)

10 Remember the essential questions! ► How is The Canterbury Tales a reflection of the values and community of 14 th century England? ► How does The Canterbury Tales offer a snapshot of the community at that time?

11 The Knight ► By the 14 th century, after the last Crusades, knighthood had fallen low from the great days of chivalry ► Chaucer gently rebukes knights of his time with this character ► However, there still remained a number of the old-fashioned knights, members of the aristocracy, whose careers were devoted to military service and the cause of Christendom

12 The Squire ► Under the feudal system, a knight’s education began when he was sent to the court of a lord to become a page. As a young boy, he was trained in riding and the arts of warfare, while attending the ladies and learning the graces of the court – dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, reading and writing. As a teen, he became a squire, mastering the gentle and courtly arts and intensifying his military skills Chaucer had been a page and served the King as a squire

13 The Yeoman ► A yeoman was a free man, generally in service to a knight ► Many were expert in the use of the long bow from Robin Hood’s day on (12 th century); legendary Robin Hood was based on Robin of Sherwood

14 The Prioress: Madame Eglantyne ► A prioress was a nun in charge of a convent ► During the Middle Ages, families of substance placed their young, unbetrothed daughters in nunneries to provide them with a secure and gracious way of living ► Nuns: forbidden to leave their cloisters or go on pilgrimages, pets forbidden, interest in fashion frowned upon, by bishop’s orders forehead covered by wimple (veil), only beads worn were to be the rosary

15 The Monk ► A monk divorced himself from the world around him, entering a religious order to spend his life worshipping God ► Chaucer’s monk is a member of the Benedictine order, founded by St. Benedict, who shocked by the worldliness of Rome, became a hermit ► According to his rule, his monks were to do whatever physical work was required to keep them alive and spend the rest of their time in the worship of God and the study and copying of religious writings

16 Three Vows ► Members of the clergy took three vows: poverty, that they would give up all the worldly goods and pleasures; obedience, that they would obey the rules laid down by the order’s founders; and chastity, that they would not allow the love of a woman to distract from the love of God

17 Friar Hubert ► A wanton and merry man, the Friar ► exemplifies the corrupt nature of many low- ► level clergymen of the times. His behavior is certainly not in accord with the selfless moral teachings he is supposed to espouse. He is a snob, corrupted by greed, and acts in very un-Christian ways, clearly a man of low moral standards. ► He possesses a level of social grace far above his station in life. He is supposed to make a living by begging, living without a roof over his head. ► Often the younger sons and daughters of nobles who could not be provided for entered the clergy, not because they felt a divine calling, but simply because that is what was expected of them.

18 Merchant ► He sports a forked beard and wears fine ► clothes. He is extremely pompous in his manners and opinions. He is so clever that nobody could gauge that he was actually in debt. ► Readers see the Merchant as an aloof figure, who sits upright on his horse, talking of nothing but his profits, and re-investing to such an extent that he has cash-flow problems. ► It may surprising when he tells us in his tale’s Prologue that, after only being married for two months, he is fed up with his wife, who has turned out to have `hye malice and to be a shrewe.' ► The Merchant's Tale is about a young wife who deceives her elderly husband.

19 The Cleric ► A clerk was a member of the clergy or a student preparing for holy orders ► In this case, the Clerk is a scholar at Oxford University, headed eventually for the priesthood but meanwhile indulging himself in the study of philosophy ► Philosophy: the study of the nature of the universe ► 14 th cy slang: the pursuit of alchemy, a pseudo- science based on the search for the “philosopher’s stone” which would turn base metals into gold, heal all illnesses, and give the possessor eternal life

20 The Sergeant of the Law ► This was one of the most ► respected legal officers, and there were very few of them at a given time, chosen from respectable barristers with at least 16 years of practice ► They served as judges of the King’s courts and presided over the sessions (meetings) of the Justices of the Peace in the counties ► These men held a vast knowledge of both aspects of English law -- common and statuary -- and sentences

21 The Franklin ► A franklin was a free man, a landholder ► Some authorities place them among the minor nobility below the rank of baron ► Others say that they were of free, not noble, birth ► In this instance, the Franklin is obviously a man of great wealth and influence, and a companion of the Sergeant-at-Law

22 The Five Guildsmen ► Medieval guilds: trade or craft associations, also formed for religious or social purposes ► These men (and their wives) are from the rising middle class

23 The Cook ► This man is the owner of a cook shop ► There were many such shops at which one could buy prepared food either to eat there or take out ► The cook, Roger Hodge, also called Hodge of Ware, was actually based on a real London cook known to Chaucer, a Roger Ware. Chaucer obviously intended for his London readers to recognize this poor cook with the sore on his knee. ► Another description of his abilities occurs in the Cook's prologue to his tale, but is not complimentary. The host accuses Roger of not only selling warmed over and stale pastries, but of having so many flies in his shop that they often end up in the food. His poor, stubble-fed geese were so badly prepared that the host tells him, "From many a pilgrim hast thou Christ's curse."

24 Skipper from Dartmouth ► A jolly fellow and an able seaman, he could read the stars and is also a good fighter. However Chaucer suggests that he is not completely moral and has no qualms about stealing wine from the merchant whose casks he is transporting.

25 Doctor ► Clad in red and blue, no one can match him in speaking about medicine and surgery. He knows the cause of every illness, what humor engenders them, and how to cure them. ► He is a perfect practitioner of medicine, and he has apothecaries ready to send him drugs and mixtures. He is well-read in the standard medical authorities, from the Greeks right through to Chaucer's contemporary Gilbertus Anglicus. The Doctor, however, has not studied the Bible. ► Chaucer suggests that this good doctor is motivated by greed more than anything else and has a special fondness for gold.

26 The Wife of Bath, Dame Alice (wife = housewife) ► This jolly woman is a widow, who comes from a suburb of the old city of Bath in Somersetshire, a town noted for weaving ► This middle class woman has traveled a lot ► Marriages at the court door refer to the custom of a two-part ceremony: vows at the church door, nuptial mass at the altar

27 The Parson ► A parish priest, a simple man of the ► lower free classes, but still a “clerk,” an educated man ► In this portrait, Chaucer says, in effect, “There are good men in holy orders, despite the abuses that we see around us.” ► Too many priests of this time accepted their parish income, but spent their days in London, enjoying easy living

28 The Plowman ► Chaucer's plowman is a decent lower-class ► pilgrim who treats his neighbor fairly and ► pays his church tithes and taxes. He ► represents simplicity, with wisdom and ► strength for stamina. ► The Parson’s brother, he lives in peace and perfect charity. He would thresh, carry dung, dig, and make ditches to help a poor neighbor. He loves God with all his heart and promptly pays his tithes to the Church. ► Chaucer’s Plowman follows both of Christ’s commandments: to love God and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. ► The Plowman rides an inferior mare and is humbly dressed in a laborer’s coat.

29 The Miller ► His occupation should require little explanation ► He ran a gristmill to which farmers brought their grain to be ground into flour ► His payment consisted of a portion of the grain, a percentage that this Miller multiplies dishonestly ► His golden thumb is a reference to the proverb “an honest miller has a golden thumb” ► Chaucer presents this man as representative of all in the trade

30 The Manciple ► A manciple was a steward, much like the modern manager of a club or the housekeeper of a boarding school ► He planned the meals, bought the food, and supervised the servants who did the daily work ► This Manciple looks after one of the Inns of Court in the Temple District of London, belonging to a legal society and serving as a clubhouse where members lived, took their meals and conducted business ► Inns served as law schools for training of young attorneys

31 The Reeve ► The Middle English reeve acts as the manager of a manor estate, overseeing the protection and maintenance of the pastures, fields, and woods belonging to the lord of the estate. ► He collects rents in goods and services from those who lived and farmed on the estate. ► Chaucer's reeve is old and thin. Despite being rich, he does not care about his appearance. ► In Middle English culture, status was important in society. The reeve violates laws in order to increase status and monetary yielding. The reference to a "Scot" (632) indicates that perhaps he was of Scottish origin, and the Scottish are historically known to be frugal. ► “Choleric" refers to his violent temperament. It indicates that he possesses a shrewd wit and sharp tongue. ► A member of the upper class, Chaucer's reeve is good at his job with an element of control over the entire manor, and better in financial matters than his own lord. However, he uses any means possible to keep those beneath him who know of his scam from spreading it to the lord.

32 The Summoner ► A summoner was a petty officer of the church (ecclesiastical) court where certain abuses were tried and punished by the church, rather than the state ► His job was to haul into court those who had broken church laws such as blasphemers or those who engaged in illicit intercourse such as adulterers. He also collected fines for “immoral” behavior. ► Notice how his looks reflect his personality

33 The Pardoner ► A pardoner was a clergyman authorized by the Pope to sell indulgences or forgiveness for sins that had not as yet been performed ► Pardoners often carried relics of saints, bits of bone or clothing, with which they performed miracles ► Some pardoners were sent from church-supported hospitals. These hospitals, often the repository of relics used in curing the sick, commissioned pardoners to take these relics on tour and to offer indulgences to anyone who was moved by their belief to donate money toward the upkeep of the hospital.

34 ► The practice of offering indulgences grew corrupt. Selling indulgences became a means for the Church to be able to finance special projects, such as the construction of the Vatican in the 16 th century. ► As early as 1212, the Church acknowledged the corrupt practices of many pardoners. ► Pardoners also tended to exaggerate the power of their indulgences—that is, they sometimes pretended to have the authority to release the buyers from hell or purgatory. ► The concept of purgatory started in the 13th century and was enforced by the 15th cy. The Council of Trent ( ) states, "We constantly hold that purgatory exists, and that the souls of the faithful there detained are helped by the prayers of the faithful."

35 Chaucer wrote his Tales between , addressing issues that later led to the Reformation ► Martin Luther wrote the Ninety-Five Thesis on the Power of Indulgences in 1517; these are widely regarded as the primary means for the Protestant Reformation. Luther used these Theses to display his unhappiness with the Church's sale of indulgences, and this eventually gave birth to Protestantism. ► It especially defied the teachings of the Church on the nature of penance, the authority and power of the Pope and the efficacy of indulgences.

36 ► These images are the slightly enlarged reproductions of the woodcuts of the Ellesmere portraits made by W.D. Hooper and published in the Six-text Edition of The Canterbury Tales, ed. F.J. Furnivall for the Chaucer Society (1868).


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