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Who was Geoffrey Chaucer


Love can play a role, but the hero is the focus. ... the time, ideals of knightly conduct were fading, and the poem is filled with ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Who was Geoffrey Chaucer

Who was Geoffrey Chaucer?
  • 1340-1400
  • The father of English literature
  • Active civil servant
  • Soldier, diplomat, courtier, translator
  • Opportunity to observe people and their
  • Canterbury Tales

Who was Geoffrey Chaucer?
  • Avoided imprisonment in 1388
  • Four friends captured and assassinated for their
    part in political struggles b/t the Duke of
    Gloucester and the allies of the king.

Who was Geoffrey Chaucer?
  • What events in Chaucers life might have
    influenced his writing?
  • What effect might these events have had on his
    point of view?
  • How might Chaucers attitude toward people have
    been affected by his career?

The Canterbury Tales
  • Name some shrines that people may visit today.
  • Why do people travel to these places?
  • Pilgrimages
  • Religious pilgrimages popular during Medieval
  • Vacation, salvation of souls

The Canterbury Tales
  • Shrine of Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of
  • Adversary of King Henry II
  • Church v. State
  • Murdered by armed band of men
  • One of the most important centers of Christendom
  • pilgrimages

The Canterbury Tales
  • Pilgrimages to St. Thomas shrine
  • Central to The Canterbury Tales
  • Blended secular with clerical
  • Journey of spiritual grace with the mood of a
  • universally humane and Medieval

The Canterbury Tales
  • Satirical
  • Mock-heroic
  • Elegant language used to describe everyday
    objects and happenings.

  • What moves a hero to act?
  • Consider many heroes are tempted on their
    journeys. For example, Sir Gawain is tempted to
    steal from his host. In your journals, write
    about why you think people may be tempted to

Influences on the Medieval Narrative
  • Popular legends from the early Middle Ages that
    were embellished over time.
  • Religious literature that passed along the ideals
    and beliefs of an era.
  • Urban growth, cultural development, and
    widespread disease that altered social

Medieval Literature
  • Emerged from earlier legends, like King Arthur.
  • Themes love, betrayal, conquest, hope, and
  • Not all Medieval Lit. is dark.
  • Romance and Religious narratives
  • Combine entertaining travel adventures with
    morally instructive religious stories.

Medieval Lit.
  • Through the use of allegories, stories in which
    literal elements represent abstract or moral
    concepts, medieval literature explored cultural
    ideals, confirmed values, and amused audiences.
  • As the middle ages progressed, elements of daily
    life popped up in the literature (reality of city
    living, fear of the plague).
  • These stories explore diverse characters and a
    range of themes, include romance, faith, and
    humor, alongside darker, more humanistic themes.

Romance in Medieval Lit.
  • Chronicles the adventures of a brave hero who
    undertakes a quest and overcomes great danger.
  • P. 114

Medieval Literature
  • 900 years ago Chretien de Troyes, a friend court
    poet, began to craft tales of knightly adventures
    focusing on the exploits of King Arthur and the
    Knights of the Round Table.
  • Chretien invented the style of narrative that is
    known today as Arthurian romance.

Not just a love story…
  • The Medieval Romance is a long narrative that
  • Tells the adventures of a hero on a quest for
    something valuable.
  • Love can play a role, but the hero is the focus.
  • Because the hero is bound by the code of chivalry
    (which emphasizes loyalty to his lord and service
    to those who are oppressed) many romances are
    about seeking justice and helping those in need.

The Romance Hero…
  • Almost always encounters an adventure or series
    of trials.
  • Receives a reward or fulfillment.
  • Strives to prove his worth, by helping others in

  • Arthur is the model or archetypal romance hero-
    the medieval descendant of the epic hero!
  • Handsome, strong.
  • Nobel
  • Strict moral code
  • Grows up in obscurity
  • Undergoes a childhood initiation involving a
    magic weapon
  • As an adult he fights to defeat evil and promote
  • Throughout his life he is aided by magical
    weapons and mysterious events.
  • Even his departure implies that he may return to
    help his people in need.

  • Today, the term romance means any story that
    presents a happier, more perfect, more heroic

The Medieval Romance Narrative
  • Prose or poetry.
  • Idealized hero who undertakes a great quest or
    overcomes danger for the sake of a noble lady or
    high ideal.
  • Faces trials and adventures encountering
    supernatural or magical beings.

Gawain the Gallant…
  • One of the most famous Arthurian Romances is Sir
    Gawain and the Green Knight.
  • Probably written around 1375.
  • At the time, ideals of knightly conduct were
    fading, and the poem is filled with romantic
    conventions that cling to those concepts!

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • King Arthur and his knights are celebrating
    christmas in Camelot.
  • An enormous, green stranger arrives with a huge
    ax and challenges any knight to hit him, then he
    will return the hit in one year and a day.
  • Gawain, the best of all knights, accepts the

  • Gawain beheads the stranger.
  • The green knight picks up his head, repeats the
    challenge, and rides away.
  • The rest of the story tells of when Gawain
    encounters the Green Knight on the appointed day.

Reading Focus
  • Cause and Effect!
  • Cause the event that makes something happen.
  • Effect the result of that event.
  • Sometimes, one action follows another but is NOT
    caused by it, 2 events that are wrongly labeLd as
    cause and effect create a LOGICAL FALLACY!

Gawain beheads the green knight
Gawain must accept the green knights challenge.
  • Writers often use imagery to share their ideas
    with readers.
  • A writer might present a visual picture of a
    dream, for example, to share a characters
    innermost feelings in a dramatic way.
  • While reading, note the imagery that helps you
    understand and experience the romance heros

Before you read….
  • What contemporary story or movie can you think of
    that fits most of the criteria for a medieval

When you finish reading…
  • Answer questions 1-6 8 9
  • Analyze the visual on pg. 197

CT and Medieval Lit.
  • CT includes romance, faith, and humor alongside
    darker, more humanistic themes.

While your reading….
  • Create a characterization chart
  • Main Character Key Detail What the detail
    emphasizes What it makes you feel
  • Ex. The Knight (ln 47-8) It
    tells us hes a brave man,
  • strong warrior,
  • and someone of great experience
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