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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer


The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer Literary Terms satire: characterization frame narrative/story prologue hyperbole stereotype satire A literary mode based on ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Literary Terms
  • satire
  • characterization
  • frame narrative/story
  • prologue
  • hyperbole
  • stereotype

  • A literary mode based on criticism of people and
    society through ridicule. The satirist aims to
    reduce the practices attacked by laughing
    scornfully at them--and being witty enough to
    allow the reader to laugh, also.  Ridicule,
    irony, exaggeration, and several other techniques
    are almost always present.

  • The method used by a writer to develop a
    character. The method includes (1) showing the
    character's appearance, (2) displaying the
    character's actions, (3) revealing the
    character's thoughts, (4) letting the character
    speak, and (5) getting the reactions of others.

frame narrative
  • The result of inserting one or more small stories
    within the body of a larger story that
    encompasses the smaller ones. Often this term is
    used interchangeably with both the literary
    technique and the larger story itself that
    contains the smaller ones, which are called
    "framed narratives" or "embedded narratives." The
    most famous example is Chaucer's Canterbury
    Tales, in which the overarching frame narrative
    is the story of a band of pilgrims traveling to
    the shrine of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. The
    band passes the time in a storytelling contest.
    The framed narratives are the individual stories
    told by the pilgrims who participate.  

  • An introductory section of a literary work. It
    often contains information establishing the
    situation of the characters or presents
    information about the setting, time period, or
    action. In the "General Prologue" of The
    Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer describes the
    main characters and establishes the setting and
    purpose of the work.

  • Exaggeration or overstatement.
  • Example I'm so hungry I could eat a
    horse. He's as big as a house.

  • 1. A conventional, formulaic, and oversimplified
    conception, opinion, or image.
  • 2. One that is regarded as embodying or
    conforming to a set image or type.

Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)
  • Son of a merchant, page in a royal house,
    soldier, diplomat, and royal clerk.
  • The Canterbury Tales provides the best
    contemporary picture we have of 14th century
  • Began writing Canterbury Tales in 1386
  • Known as The Father of English Poetry

The Canterbury Tales
  • Originally planned to write 124 tales
  • Only 24 tales were completed
  • Each character tells a tale on the pilgrimage to
    the cathedral at Canterbury

Manuscripts Written in Middle English
  • Ellesmere Manuscript
  • 240 pages of parchment leaves
  • The most famous manuscript in the English language

General Complexity of The Canterbury Tales
  • Different genres have different views of the
    world, different vocabularies, and different
    images for truth
  • Romance- deals with human emotions and
  • Fabliau- deals with the basic human needs of
    food, sex, or money
  • Saints Life- deals with the operations of God
  • Sermons and Ethical Treatises- deals with
    spiritual matters

The Prologue
  • Prologue- an introduction
  • Setting- in spring in the city of Southwark at
    the Tabard Inn
  • 30 pilgrims in all
  • 3 groups of pilgrims-1)Oratores (those who pray),
    Bellatores (those who fight), and Laborares
    (those who work)

Theory of the Four Humors
  • This theory held that the body's state of
    health--and by extension the state of mind, or
    character--depended upon a balance among the four
    elemental fluids blood, yellow bile, phlegm, and
    black bile. The four basic human temperaments,
    phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic, and choleric,
    were each caused by a predominance of one of the
    four humors. The humors and their corresponding
    temperaments were closely allied with the four
    elements (air, fire, water, and earth) and the
    dualities of hot/cold, moist/dry .

  • The temperament of the calm and tough phlegmatics
    was influenced by excess phlegm, and was closely
    associated with water, cold and moisture.
    Characteristics dull, pale, cowardly. 

  • Sanguines, whose cheerful and lively temperament
    resulted from the dominance of the blood, and was
    associated with the air, heat and moisture.
    Characteristics amorous, happy, generous.

  • The worry and gloominess of the melancholies were
    due to a surfeit of melancholy. Associated with
    earth, cold and dryness. Characteristics
    gluttonous, lazy, sentimental

  • The energetic cholerics had too much choler (an
    irritable petulant feeling) in his or her system.
    Associated with fire, heat and dryness.
    Characteristics violent, vengeful.

The Seven Deadly Sins
Pride is an excessive belief in one's own
abilities. Envy is wanting what others have, be
it status, abilities, or possessions. Gluttony
is the desire to eat or consume more than you
require. Lust is a powerful craving for such as
sex, power and money.  Anger is the loss of
rational self-control and the desire to harm
others. Greed is the desire for material wealth
or gain. Sloth is laziness and the avoidance of
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