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The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer


Chaucer wrote 24 of the proposed 124 tales. ... Chaucer was from a wealthy class (not royalty) Worked as a page , connected to King Edward III ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Introductory Notes

Chaucer 1343?-1400
  • Ranks second to Shakespeare as Englands GREATEST
  • Died before finishing Tales. Chaucer wrote 24 of
    the proposed 124 tales.
  • First to be buried in Poets Corner of
    Westminster Abbey
  • Father of English Poetry
  • The Canterbury Tales ranks as one of the worlds
    finest works of literature!! (and we GET to read
    it! Woo hoo!)
  • Chaucer was from a wealthy class (not royalty)
  • Worked as a page , connected to King Edward III
  • Served in English army and was captured and held
    prisoner by the French (what war??)
  • Began writing poetry in his 20s (there is still
    hope for yall)
  • Actually took a pilgrimage to Canterbury,
    starting at the Tabard Inn in Southwark.

The Tales
  • Begins with a prologue that describes all the
    pilgrims going to Canterbury, England
  • Pilgrims are people on a pilgrimage (long
    religious journey)
  • The prologue sets up the FRAME WORK for the
  • C.Tales is an example of a FRAME STORY
    (story(ies) within a story)

  • Written in ENGLISH!! (A no, no!!)
  • Written in iambic pentameter couplets (5 iambs
    per line, both lines rhyme)
  • 7 line stanzas
  • 24 were written of the projected 124 (Chaucer
    dies before finishing)
  • Pilgrims are going to Canterbury, England from
    Tabard Inn in Southwark, England to worship at
    the shrine of Thomas a Becket, (now St. Thomas)

The time period
  • At least once in their lifetime, people
    made a pilgrimage (religious journey) to the
    shrine of St. Thomas á Becket in the city of
  • Becket had been the archbishop of Canterbury
  • He was murdered in his own cathedral
  • Chaucer uses this idea of a pilgrimage to help
    form his frame story.

  • Each pilgrim would tell TWO tales each way
  • Tales represented three segments of society-
    CHURCH, COURTS (government), COMMON FOLK
  • Two of the tales are written in prose (not verse)

Storys Elements
  • Setting Southwark, England-Tabard Inn- Spring
  • Characters29 pilgrimshostChaucer31 (another
    joined later32
  • Chaucer himself is a character in the poem as a
    short, plump, slightly foolish pilgrim who
    commands no great respect
  • Plot Pilgrims are going to Canterbury to Shrine
    of St. Thomas
  • Each tells a tale-2 going and 2 returning
  • Best tale wins dinner at Tabard
  • Host (Harry Bailey) will be the judge

  • Main Theme-Church is not all that it appears to
    be. Chaucer was trying to reveal corruption
    within the Catholic church.
  • Other Themes each tale has its own point to make.

  • People of the time believed STRONGLY in
    physiognomyit is a persons physical appearance
    in relationship to a persons personality/characte
  • Body was made up of 4 humours-body fluids. Blood,
    yellow bile, black bile and phlegm.

  • Sanguine- blood (red)--cheerful
  • Choleric- yellow bileangry
  • Phlegmatic- phlegmgloomy
  • Melancholy- Black bile--apathy

  • Red hair-quick tempered
  • Gapped teeth-bold, aggressive, traveler, amorous
  • Buxom-jolly
  • Broad forehead-intelligent, good breeding
  • Very thin-stingy, bad-tempered
  • Neat-pride
  • White neck-sign of evil
  • Wearing red-aggressive
  • Wearing black-melancholy (sad, depressed)
  • Wearing blue-constant in love
  • Wearing gold and black-a Cougar fan!!

  • Definition-METHOD by which an author creates the
    appearance AND personality of characters
  • Round characters-fully developed
  • Flat characters-little or no development (one
  • Dynamic-changes/grows/learns
  • Static-doesnt change

Direct vs. Indirect
  • Direct Method- Direct description of physical
    appearance and the explanation of character
    traits and attributes. The author TELLS the
    reader what sort of person the character is.
  • Indirect Method- reader must infer from
  • What the character
  • Says
  • Thinks
  • Does
  • Appearance description
  • Other characters statements/thoughts

  • The End