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The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer. Early Life Born c. 1340 Family of wine makers and merchants Mid-teens –Placed in the service of the Countess of.

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Presentation on theme: "The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer. Early Life Born c. 1340 Family of wine makers and merchants Mid-teens –Placed in the service of the Countess of."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer

2 Early Life Born c Family of wine makers and merchants Mid-teens –Placed in the service of the Countess of Ulster –Obtain more education –Schooled in court and society Learned –Latin and Greek –French and Italian

3 Other Jobs Chaucer Held/Learned from Controller of Customs on Wools, Skins and Hides for the Port of London –Businessmen, Sailors, Travelers, City Folk and Common Laborers Clerk of the King’s Works –Construction and repairs affecting the royal residences –Guildsmen and Court Officials Deputy Forester of the King’s Forests –Away from the city –Peasants, Foresters, Local Clergy and other Country Folk Representative of the Shire of Kent in Parliament –The Rich, the Influential and the Upper Middle Class –Higher ranking Church Officials

4 The Language Prior to Chaucer England texts were in: –Latin (the language of the church) –French (the language of the nobility) The Canterbury Tales –Wrote in the language of the people. Medieval English –Changed the history of literature.

5 Late 14 th century world = spoken word. Books –Copied by hand –A rare luxury Educated elite –Read –Preferred to hear texts as entertainment. The Canterbury Tales –Earthy humor (Peasants) –Vivid dialogue (Upper Class) –A success!

6 Chaucer’s Plan Prologue –Introduction of Characters (Pilgrims) A series of stories –Linking dialogues –Commentaries A pilgrimage based on a dare –Each character (23) would tell 2 stories there and 2 stories coming back

7 Characterization Job Type and color of clothing “Accessories” (jewelry, pets, other portables) The way they act Income “Secrets” Their status in society The way they speak / their slang/accent Mode of transportation

8 Why Canterbury?! Canterbury = Important religious center in England

9 Answer 1: Religion Important part in medieval life. –Plague –Warfare –High Infant Mortality Rate –Short Life Expectancy A whole life in harsh conditions Best thing you had to look forward to was dying and going to heaven

10 Answer 2: Pilgrimage Site People of all classes went on pilgrimages to holy sites. Asked for help with medical, financial or other problems.

11 Answer 3: The Shrine of St. Thomas À Becket Canterbury Cathedral A site for pilgrims to offer prayers to St. Thomas.

12 Becket was a trusted adviser and friend of King Henry II. Henry named Becket Archbishop of Canterbury. Greater power in England for the Church of Rome Who was Becket?

13 Becket’s outspoken style angered the King. Henry complained, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” 3 knights rode to Canterbury where they found Becket at the altar of Canterbury Cathedral…

14 …and murdered Becket at the altar! The death of Becket angered the peasants (felt his Saxon heritage made him one of them)

15 A modern cross made from swords marks the site of the martyrdom.

16 So, travel back to London, to an area called Southward, and stop at the Tabard Inn…

17 …to hear the story begin!


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