2The General PrologueGenre known as estates satire, which sets out to expose typical examples of corruption at all levels of society.Each member of the pilgrimage is meant to be typical of his (or her) station in society:Ex: The chivalrous Knight; his fashionably dressed son, the Squire, a typical lover; the lusty and domineering Wife of Bath; the Pardoner, peddling his phony relics, etc.Pay attention to the pilgrims facial features, the clothes they wear, the foods the like to eat, the things they say, the work they do are all clues not only to their social rank but to their moral and spiritual condition.
3The General PrologueRead the description of your assigned character in the Prologue.Determine whether your character is a member of the Church, the Court, or the Commoners.Make bullet notes on the type of clothes that he/she wears and the physical description of the character.Summarize that character’s personality traits. Some characters are directly characterized; some are indirectly characterized. Be prepared to defend your characterization.On a piece of computer paper, create a “Match.com page” that includes:A picture (drawn)LooksStation in life/EmploymentInterests/HobbiesMorals/BeliefsA creative way to weave the the poet’s opinion of him/her
4A Summary of the Knight’s Tale In order to fully appreciate the bawdy nature of the Miller’s Tale, you should know a bit about the tale that precedes itThe Knight’s Tale, a romance of 2,350, is the story of Palamon and Arcite knight’s who are taken prisoner after the siege of Thebes by Theseus, the ruler of Athens.Gazing out of their cell in a tower (typical), they fall in love at first sight with Theseus’ sister-in-law, Emily, who is taking a morning walk through the garden.After a bitter rivalry, they are reconciled through a tournament in which Emily is the prize. Arcite wins; however, he is thrown from his horse, and as he lies dying, he makes a noble speech encouraging Palamon to marry Emily.The tale is a combination of classical setting and mythology, romance plot, and themes of fortune and destiny.
5The Miller’s TaleRecall: How was the Miller described in the General Prologue?The Miller’s Tale belongs to a genre known as the “fabliau”: a short story in verse that deals satirically, often grossly as well as hilariously, with intrigues and deceptions about sex or money.Consider why Chaucer would have Robin the Miller tell a fabliau after the Knight’s aristocratic tale of romance.
6The Reeve’s TaleRecall: How was the Reeve described in the General Prologue?Who was the subject of the deception in the Miller’s Tale?How might the Reeve react?
7The Pardoner’s TaleIn 1215, confession became mandatory. One would give money to the church and then become absolved of sin.The medieval pardoner’s job was to collect money for charitable enterprises, such as hospitals. In return for donations he was licensed by the pope to award remission of sins that the donor should have repented and confession (thus, pardoning their sins).Like the Wife of Bath’s Tale, the Pardoner’s Tale develops in a profound and surprising way the portrait the Host sketched in the General Prologue.Start on pg. 240, when the Host exclaims, “By corpus bones!”
8The Wife of Bath’s TaleIn creating the Wife, Chaucer drew upon a centuries-old tradition of antifeminist writings that was accepted by the medieval church. In their conviction, the higher side of human nature rested in men, whereas the irrational, material, and “lower side” resided in women.The church exalted celibacy and virginity above marriage.As we read consider whether the Wife of Bath acts as a stereotype of the common held beliefs about women or as a medieval feminist.The Wife’s Prologue should be considered three parts:Part 1- lines 1-162: A discussion of scripturePart 2 - lines : First 3 husbandsPart 3 - lines 452-end: 4th and 5th husbands