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Geoffrey Chaucer 1343-1400 Created by Ms. Miller.

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1 Geoffrey Chaucer Created by Ms. Miller

2 Father of English poetry Spoke the Anglo-Norman composite called Middle English (the ancestor of Modern English). One of the first to write in English (French was the spoken language of the time) Considered to be the greatest English writer before Shakespeare. Most famous book: The Canterbury Tales

3 In part, its greatness lies in Chaucer’s language. It also comes from the sheer strength of Chaucer’s spirit and personality. “In a dark, troubled age, as it seems to us, he was a comfortable optimist, serene, full of faith.” – John Gardner

4 At least once in their lifetime, people made a pilgrimage (religious journey) to the shrine of St. Thomas á Becket in the city of Canterbury Becket had been the archbishop of Canterbury He was murdered in his own cathedral Chaucer uses this idea of a pilgrimage to help form his frame story.

5 Chaucer’s most famous book He himself is a character in the book as a short, plump, slightly foolish pilgrim who commands no great respect This book was still unfinished when he died Type: Fiction Format: Collection of stories within a frame story

6 Chaucer used several metrical forms and some prose in The Canterbury Tales, but the dominant meter is based on ten syllables, with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Iambic pentameter At a stroke we have abandoned the old, alliterative world of Anglo-Saxons and entered the modern world of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and Robert Frost!

7 What is Iambic Pentameter? Provide an example.

8 The Canterbury Tales gives us a collection of good stories and a snapshot, a picture of life in the Middle Ages frozen in time. Chaucer places his characters on a pilgrimage, a religious journey made to a shrine of holy place.

9 The tales begin with a general Prologue, the first lines of which establish that this pilgrimage takes place in the spring, the time of a new life and awakening. Narrator: Poet-pilgrim, whom many consider to be Chaucer himself Gather at Tabard Inn, there he meets twenty-nine other pilgrims also bound for Canterbury.

10 It is the host of the Tabard who suggests to the pilgrims, as they sit around the fire after dinner, that they exchange tales to pass the time along the way to Canterbury. Frame Story- A story within a story. Chaucer uses the other story of the pilgrimage to unite his travelers; individual tales, but the tales themselves also have thematic unity.

11 Agility Eminent Accrue Arbitrate Benign Guile Obstinate Frugal Duress

12 To create the portraits of his pilgrims, Chaucer uses the same methods of Characterization that writers still use today. He reveals his characters by telling us How the character looks and dresses How the character speaks and acts What the character speaks and acts What the character thinks and feels How others respond to the character He also tells us directly what the character’s nature is – virtuous, clever, and so on

13 With twenty-nine pilgrims to introduce in the Prologue, Chaucer could not develop any one character at great length. Instead, he had to provide a few well-chosen details that would make each character stand out vividly. As you read the descriptions of each pilgrim in the Prologue, jot down striking details of dress, appearance, and behavior that give you an immediate impression of that character is really like.

14 Narrator At the inn Introduces all the people taking part in pilgrimage

15 Knight Kind, chivalrous, just back from war, good warrior Squire Knight’s son, about 20, very artistic, very devoted to his father.

16 Yeoman Servant, proper Forrester, farmer Wears weapons, simply dressed Yeoman: attendant, servant, or lesser official in royal or noble household. Flirts, speaks poor French (putting on Airs), not really classy (pretends to be) Clean eater, fat, tender hearted 3 priests and another Nun are with her Prioress: A nun in charge of a priory or ranking next below the abbess of an abbey Nun

17 Monk Hunter, fat, likes to eat Indulgent, dainty horses Cares about money Disregards his job and rules Hubert Drinker, faker, liar, flirt, beggar Oxymoron (Devout Friar) Coward (lily-livered) Limiter: Licensed to beg within certain bounds, limited to a certain district Friar

18 Merchant Boring, in debt, poorly dressed Poor, student, moral, philosopher, thin Cleric: clergyman or other person in religious orders. Oxford Cleric

19 Sergeant at the Law Doesn’t think much of him Seems busier than he is Nosey Self-indulgent, loves food and wine Old, hospitable Sheriff and in Parliament Franklin: person of non-noble birth holding extensive property Franklin

20 The Guildsmen Self-indulgent, loves food and wine Old, hospitable Sheriff and in Parliament Franklin: person of non- noble birth holding extensive property Lower class Trying to act higher class Is good at his job With the sore on his knee, he isn’t very sanitary which makes his food taste bad The Cook

21 Skipper Sailor Likes to drink Ruthless, evil to prisoners Medicine based on Zodiac signs Greedy, meds for unneeded things Apothecary: one that prepares and sells drugs and other medicines (a pharmacist) Doctor

22 The Wife of Bath Deaf, well-dressed, gap teeth, voluptuous, busy-body Holy, poor, good priest, not judgmental, devoted, kind Parson

23 Plowman Christian, hard worker, kind Will not take money unless he has to Muscular, strong, wart on nose, bar-fly Steals grain, tells dirty stories, plays bag pipes The Miller

24 Manciple Trading and money managing Illiterate but intelligent Easily makes fools out of other manciples Works for college Old, bad-tempered, thin Does job well, steals from employer Dishonest The Reeve

25 The Summoner Summons people to court Face covered in nasty sores, stinks because he eats onions and garlic, drunk One job is to track down adulterers Sells pardons for church Rat-tails, hair shows Trying to be better than he is Voice like a goat, bug eyes, feminine The Pardoner

26 The Host Happy, serves as the guide Proposes that they all tell 4 stories 2 on the way to shrine 2 on the way back Winner gets feast Wants to tell stories to offer entertainment on trip


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