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Geoffrey Chaucer’s

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Geoffrey Chaucer s Canterbury Tales A Presentation on the General Prologue Professor Beamen Chaucer s Background (1343? 1400) Known as the Father of English ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Geoffrey Chaucer’s


1
Geoffrey Chaucers
  • Canterbury Tales

A Presentation on the General Prologue Professor
Beamen
2
Chaucers Background
  • (1343? 1400)
  • Known as the Father of English Poetry
  • His father was a wine merchant, so he was neither
    an aristocrat nor a peasant
  • In his lifetime he was a page in a royal house,
    soldier, diplomat, and royal clerk, so he had a
    perfect vantage point for observing all kinds of
    people.

3
Chaucers background (contd)
  • When Chaucer was a diplomat, one of his tasks was
    to go abroad in doing so he brought back
    influence of writers, the most important of which
    was Boccaccios Decameron.
  • Many critics say Chaucer did not borrow from
    Boccaccio, but even if he did, Shakespeare was
    guilty of this same imitatio.
  • Chaucer was called English Homer by Renaissance
    historians, and evolved into the forefather
    figure of Renaissance English literary history
    (Miskimin 58)

4
Chaucers Middle English
Even while Chaucer visits old genres, he is
perfecting a new poetic form. In the Middle Ages,
the meters and sound effects of Old English no
longer suited the English language. He adapted
French poetic forms to the English language.
5
Basis of the Pilgrimage
  • Chaucers own house in London overlooked the
    pilgrim road that led to Canterbury.
  • The pilgrims are on their way to the shrine of
    St. Thomas à Becket, who was appointed Archbishop
    of Canterbury by Henry II.
  • Becket was famous for his struggle to keep the
    English church free from royal control, which
    caused tension between him and Henry II (who
    eventually had Becket killed). The shrine built
    to honor him was later destroyed by Henry VIII.
  • The detail with which Chaucer devotes to his
    accounts of the normal life of each pilgrim,
    serves, by implication, to emphasize the
    departure from those lives represented by the
    pilgrimage itself (Martin 55)

6
Literary Elements
  • Social Commentary
  • This later bloomed with the invention of the
    novel
  • Human nature changes very little (from then until
    now)
  • Direct and Indirect Characterization
  • Chaucer presents an astonishing individuality
    and varietyof behavior, of posture, of
    complexion, evenof clothing (Nevo 9)
  • Chaucers point was to sharpen our overall
    perceptions on the basis of everyday attitudes
    toward people, of the things we take into account
    and the things we willingly ignore (Mann 25).
  • The description of the various pilgrims turns
    rapidly from an article of clothing to a point of
    character and back again with no apparent
    organization. Yet this artful artlessness is so
    effective that each pilgrim stands out sharply as
    a type of medieval personality and also as a
    highly individualized character. (Hopper 92)

7
The Prologue
  • There are three basic estates
  • Aristocracy (the Knight, Squire, Yeoman)
  • Clergy (Prioress, Monk, Friar)
  • Commons (all the rest)
  • In the Prologue, the pilgrims views are not
    individual ones, but attached to their
    callingsin medieval terms, their estates. The
    Prologue is a poem about work as social
    experience conditions personality and then a
    standpoint from which an individual views the
    world (Mann 36).

8
Chaucer (the author) and his Point of View
  • Chaucer not only persuades us that fools and
    rascals can be very charming people, but he is at
    the same time making us suspect that they are
    fools and rascals.
  • Chaucer aware that there ought to be meaning in
    everything his works in general contained a lot
    of proverbs.
  • In his works he hints that chivalry is breaking
    down.
  • Canterbury Tales represents rising middle class.

9
Chaucer as Narrator
  • Chaucer applies a double irony in appearing as
    himself masked in the masquerade.
  • The narrator himself constantly identifies with
    the pilgrims point of view and encourages us to
    see the world from this angle a large part of
    the narrators criteria for judging is personal,
    based on pleasantness, charm, and social
    accomplishments. (Mann 30)
  • Chaucer the pilgrim, the naive narrator of the
    Prologue, so often misses the point of the
    complex phenomena he describes in order that
    Chaucer the satirist or the poet or the man can
    make sure WE see how very complex they are
    (Leicester 95).

10
Money in the Prologue
  • Every character has a mention of, or a connection
    to, money!
  • Pilgrims are described in terms of how they make
    a living or how they go about spending money, or
    some form of array. (Eberle 114)
  • The Prologue is a classification of society based
    on the various sources of income in which the
    pilgrimage is a structural frame (Nevo 14).
  • The Prologue is a symbol for cupidity Chaucer
    assumes his audience has a lively interest in the
    world of getting and spending money as well as
    commerce which he neither praises nor condemns
    rather, he takes it for granted (Eberle 115) .

11
Money in the Prologue (contd)
  • Gold plays a big role in the Prologue
  • See Prioress (St. Loy), Monk (his brooch), Clerk,
  • Doctor, etc.
  • Sumptuary Laws dictated what people could wear
    fabrics, decorations, etc.
  • Clothing was a uniform for some to what extent
    does it define personality?

12
Characters Pilgrims in Canterbury Tales(blank).doc
  • Except for the Knight, Parson, Plowman, and
    scholar, these pilgrims are totally taken up
    with the world and the flesh. (Nevo 17)
  • Like the Friar, Summoner, and Pardoner, Harry
    Bailey knows how to turn a tidy profit from a
    religious occasion like a pilgrimage. He comes up
    with the idea, for which someone else will have
    to pay meanwhile hell collect the profits
    (Eberle 121).
  • Why are these pilgrims on this journey? With whom
    would you choose to ride?

13
The Pardoners Tale
  • Exemplum, archetypal narrative elements
  • Ironically, the Pardoners own tale confirms the
    connection of symbols and controls. It concerns
    the young rioters who reject both. The rioters,
    who have little sense of symbolism, do not
    acknowledge loyalty to any abstraction like a
    social unit, even one of their own making. It is
    in this sense that it is a moral tale. The windy
    sermonizing in the Pardoners Talewords
    unnecessary to the plot itselfrecalls a modern
    idea that words are not the things they stand
    for. Words are a symbolic order apart from
    reality. The pardoner finds it easy to exploit
    the falsity inherent in language. (Justman 130)

14
Pardoners Tale (contd)
  • The Pardoner has defeated any attempt to trick
    his companions by exposing his greed before the
    tale is told.
  • What the Pardoner says to others partly reflects
    what he is already is and what he will be.
    Chaucer suggests transformations through the
    effect of the language of the tale he chooses to
    tell (Bloom 3).
  • The audience, in a spirit of penance from the
    pilgrimage, alters his audience's perspective of
    his tale (Martin 58)
  • Harry Bailey is the only pilgrim who doesnt
    seem to understand this he gives a violent
    verbal attack.

15
The End
  • Works Cited
  •  
  • Bloom, Harold. Introduction. Modern Critical
    Interpretations Geoffrey Chaucers The General
    Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Ed. Harold
    Bloom,. New York Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.
    4-7. Print.
  • Bloomfield, Morton W. The Canterbury Tales as
    Framed Narratives. Modern Critical
    Interpretations Geoffrey Chaucers The General
    Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Ed. Harold
    Bloom,. New York Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.
    101-112. Print.
  • Chaucers Canterbury Tales (Selected) An
    Interlinear Translation. Ed. Vincent Foster
    Hopper. New York Barrons Educational Series.
    1970. Print.
  • Eberle, Patricia J. Commercial Language and the
    Commercial Outlook in the General Prologue.
    Modern Critical Interpretations Geoffrey
    Chaucers The General Prologue to the Canterbury
    Tales. Ed. Harold Bloom,. New York Chelsea House
    Publishers, 1988. 113-124. Print.
  • Justman, Stewart. Literal and Symbolic in the
    Canterbury Tales. Modern Critical Views
    Geoffrey Chaucer. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York
    Chelsea House Publishers, 1985. 57-78. Print.
  • Leicester, H. Marshall. The Art of
    Impersonation A General Prologue to the
    Canterbury Tales. Modern Critical
    Interpretations Geoffrey Chaucers The General
    Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Ed. Harold
    Bloom,. New York Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.
    85-100. Print.
  • Mann, Jill. Medieval Estates Satire and the
    General Prologue Modern Critical
    Interpretations Geoffrey Chaucers The General
    Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Ed. Harold
    Bloom,. New York Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.
    21-36. Print.
  • Martin, Loy D. History and Form in the General
    Prologue. Modern Critical Interpretations
    Geoffrey Chaucers The General Prologue to the
    Canterbury Tales. Ed. Harold Bloom,. New York
    Chelsea House Publishers, 1988. 51-66 Print.
  • Miskiman, Alice S. From Medieval to Renaissance
    Some Problems in Historical Criticism. Modern
    Critical Views Geoffrey Chaucer. Ed. Harold
    Bloom.
  • New York Chelsea House Publishers, 1985. 57-78.
    Print.
  • Nevo, Ruth. Chaucer Motive and Mask in the
    General Prologue. Modern Critical
    Interpretations Geoffrey Chaucers The General
    Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Ed. Harold
    Bloom,. New York Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.
    9-20. Print.
  • Nolan, Barbara. A Poet Ther Was Chaucers
    Voices in the General Prologue to The Canterbury
    Tales. Modern Critical Interpretations Geoffrey
    Chaucers The General Prologue to the Canterbury
    Tales. Ed. Harold Bloom,. New York Chelsea House
    Publishers, 1988. 125-148. Print.
  • Parker, David. Can We Trust the Wife of Bath?
    Modern Critical Views Geoffrey Chaucer. Ed.
    Harold Bloom. New York Chelsea House Publishers,
    1985. 49-56. Print.
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