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Chaucer (1) The Canterbury Tales

Chaucer (1) The Canterbury Tales

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Chaucer (1) The Canterbury Tales

  1. 1. GEOFFREY CHAUCER The Canterbury Tales
  2. 2. EARLY LIFE 1342-1400 Born to a middle class family His father was a wine merchant who believed his child should have a formal education Odd jobs = page, courtier, diplomat, civil servant, scrap metal collector Travelled all over Europe
  3. 3. LATER LIFE  Fluent in English, Italian, Latin, and French  Worked as a government official under three different kings = high social status  Was captured as a POW during the Hundred Year’s War  King paid his ransom  Died of unknown causes – murder suspected  Chaucer was one of the first writers to be buried in the Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.
  4. 4. WRITING STYLES  Often called the father of English poetry  Most scholars still wrote in Latin  Felt English lacked sophistication and had a limited vocabulary  Only local stories and ballads written in English  He wrote in the vernacular or language of the commoners Now known as Middle English  Allegory:  A story win which the character, settings, and events stand for abstract or moral concepts.  It has a literal meaning and a symbolic meaning.  Popular in the Middle Ages.  Satire: witty language used to convey insult  Rhythmic pattern  Lack of alliteration  Best known for writing The Canterbury Tales, but also had several other works as well
  5. 5. THE CANTERBURY TALES  Although the work was never completed, The Canterbury Tales is considered one of the greatest works in the English language  The narrator meets 29 pilgrims at an inn and travels with them to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket in Canterbury. They decide to have a contest: whoever can tell the best tale wins a dinner at the inn when they get back, courtesy of the other travelers. o Canterbury Tales can be considered “estates satire” o Three “Estates” in European feudal society – Peasants work (agricultural labor) – Clergy pray – Nobles fight (and rule)  Begun: 1386  Planned: 120 tales  Completed: 22 and 2 fragments
  6. 6. CHARACTERS  Narrator (“Chaucer”)  Host  Knight  Squire  Yeoman  Prioress  Second Nun  Three Priests  Monk  Friar  Merchant  Clerk  Man of Law  Franklin  Guildsmen  Cook  Shipman  Physician  Wife of Bath  Parson  Plowman  Manciple  Reeve  Miller  Summoner  Pardoner

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