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Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer Born in London, about 1340 His Father was a wine merchant, a member of the newly developing middle class.

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Presentation on theme: "Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer Born in London, about 1340 His Father was a wine merchant, a member of the newly developing middle class."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

2 Geoffrey Chaucer Born in London, about 1340 His Father was a wine merchant, a member of the newly developing middle class. He became a page at the Court of Edward III. He was a soldier, diplomat, and civil administrator. Most importantly, he was a poet.

3 Canterbury Tales He began the Tales in 1386 and worked on them until his death in He is buried in Westminster Abbey in Poet’s Corner.

4 Remember 1066 When William the Conqueror and the Normans conquered England in 1066, French became the language of the Court and the Upper Class. English was only spoken by the lower class. But… Chaucer wrote his Tales in Middle English, the language of the common people. He raised the prestige of the English language and made literature accessible to the common man.

5 Prominence Chaucer is second only to Shakespeare in prominence in English Literature. Below is a picture of a stained glass window in Canterbury Cathedral that depicts The Tales.

6 Form of the Tales He wrote the Tales in an heroic couplet form – two lines of iambic pentameter that rhyme. He planned to use a frame – a story within a story – the frame is the four day journey. Within this frame, each pilgrim tells his/her story. He planned 120 tales but completed only 22.

7 Where were they Heading? They were going to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket Becket was killed as he was praying by 4 knights of Henry II. Soon after his death, miracles began to happen. His tomb at Canterbury Cathedral became a popular place for pilgrims to pray for forgiveness and healing.

8 Who is going? Chaucer included pilgrim from the three most popular classes:  Members of the disappearing feudal system: the knight, squire, yeoman, franklin, reeve, miller, plowman  Members of the Catholic church: the parson, summoner, monk, prioress, friar, pardoner, cleric  Members of the rising urban middle class: doctor, lawyer, merchant, shipman, tradesman, cook, wife of Bath, and the host The window above represents the “Three Estates” of the Middle Ages: the priest, The knight, the labourer


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