The canterbury tales backgroundPresentation Transcript
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Background of these tales Geoffrey Chaucer wrote this story in the late 1300’s but never finished it. He wrote in the native language or vernacular of the Medieval period in Britain called Middle English.
The Story Twenty nine people that represent all aspects of Medieval society go on a pilgrimage to the cathedral at Canterbury in southeast England.
The cathedral at Canterbury is the main cathedral of the Church of England. The shrine to the martyr Saint Thomas a Becket is located at this cathedral.
The story format Chaucer’s characters are going to pay respects to this shrine as a part of a religious pilgrimage. They all meet at a tavern to begin their journey.
Saint Thomas a Becket was the archbishop of Canterbury, and in 1170 he was martyred by some knights of the king of England, Henry II, who was overheard complaining about Becket’s loyalty to the church at Rome over his loyalty to his king.
Some of the characters The host of the tavern or innkeeper is the man who suggests that the pilgrims each tell a story on the way to entertain the group. Chaucer intended for each to tell 2 stories, but he only got to write one apiece.
The following characters are the wife of Bath and the pardoner,
The following characters are the priest and the miller
And two more familiar characters are the knight and his squire
Format of the poetry The Canterbury Tales are called a frame story, meaning that there are many stories “framed” in the larger story of the pilgrimage to Canterbury.
1: Whan that aprill with his shoures soote2: The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,3: And bathed every veyne in swich licour4: Of which vertu engendred is 8: Hath in the ram hishalve cours yronne,9: And smale foweles maken melodye,10: That slepen al the nyght with open ye11: (so priketh hem nature in hir corages);12: Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,13: And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,14: To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;15: And specially from every shires ende16: Of engelond to caunterbury they wende,17: The hooly blisful martir for to seke,18: That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.19: Bifil that in that seson on a day,20: In southwerk at the tabard as I lay21: Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage22: To caunterbury with ful devout corage,23: At nyght was come into that hostelrye24: Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye,25: Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle26: In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,27: That toward caunterbury wolden ryde.
Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote When April with its sweet-smelling showers 2 The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, Has pierced the drought of March to the root, 3 And bathed every veyne in swich licour And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid 4 Of which vertu engendred is the flour; By which power the flower is created; 5 Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth When the West Wind also with its sweet breath, 6 Inspired hath in every holt and heeth In every wood and field has breathed life into 7 The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne The tender new leaves, and the young sun 8 Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne, Has run half its course in Aries, 9 And smale foweles maken melodye, And small fowls make melody, 10 That slepen al the nyght with open ye Those that sleep all the night with open eyes 11 (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages), (So Nature incites them in their hearts), 12 Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, Then folk long to go on pilgrimages, 13 And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, And professional pilgrims to seek foreign shores, 14 To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes; To distant shrines, known in various lands; 15 And specially from every shires ende And specially from every shires end 16 Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende, Of England to Canterbury they travel, 17 The hooly blisful martir for to seke, To seek the holy blessed martyr, 18 That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.