The Canterbury Tales


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  • Chaucer was born in the early 1340s to a fairly rich, well-to-do, though not aristocratic family. Thomas Chaucer died in 1400; he was a large landowner and political officeholder, and his daughter, Alice, became Duchess of Suffolk. Little is known about Lewis Chaucer, Geoffrey Chaucer's youngest son.Of Chaucer's two daughters, Elizabeth became a nun, while Agnes was a lady-in-waiting for the coronation of Henry IV in 1399. Public records indicate that Chaucer had no descendants living after the fifteenth century.
  • Westminster Abbey
  • 100Years’ War: (1294-1444) Long conflict between England and France. English kings wanted to be monarchs of England and France, and visa versa. This conflict intensified under Edward III, during Chaucer’s lifetime, and included conflicts with Scots, Irish and Welsh. (Braveheart. Henry V. Joan of Arc.) England was still struggling to be English. Chaucer sees first-hand the folly of this dispute when he goes into battle with Edward III.
  • Classes of medieval society: Clergy, nobility and people
  • The clergy is the first class of society because of its sacred character. Its members are the ones in charge of the worship of God and the preaching of the Gospel, the most elevated works that exist. The First Commandment clearly states that we should love God above all things. Thus, the class of men who guide and encourage this love in society is the first. By teaching Catholic Morals the clergy lays the very foundation of civilization. Without morals a country has no worth, and it is the Catholic clergy who have all the supernatural and natural means to inculcate authentic morals in a country. Since this is the highest and most fundamental mission, it is natural that the men entrusted with it should occupy the first place in society. On the contrary, as we just said, the first class – above the nobility – was the clergy. The nobility was quite aware that it was the second class. At meetings, social events, official ceremonies, the order that had the first places of honor was the clergy. And the clergy was made up not only of the sons of the nobility but also the sons of the people, according to the vocation God had given each one. In the Church, what counted was the place a man had in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, not the social rank in which he was born.
  • The Route - KeyA The Tabard Inn, SouthwarkThis is based on contemporary drawings of the Tabard Inn, whichwas constructed in 1307 and survived until a fire in 1676B St Thomas a WateringSt Thomas a Watering is the first rest stop on the journey where travellers would traditionally water their horses. This is located on the Old Kent Road, near to the Thomas a Becket pub and as nothing medieval remains in that area I have depicted St Thomas watering the pathway.C DeptfordSt Nicholas Church is a 14th century parish church although only the ragstone tower remains from that time.D GreenwichI could find no existing medieval buildings in Greenwich but recent excavationdid uncover the remains of a medieval water wheel so I have included amedieval drawing of a water wheel.E DartfordHoly Trinity Church dates back to 1080. The boys in front of the church arebased on a painting called 'ABC Minors' by Peter Blake who comesfrom Dartford.F RochesterRochester Castle was built in 1127 and is one of the best-preserved castles in England.G Sittingbourne'Painting of the Doom' is a medieval fresco in Newington-next-Sittingbourne. This detaildepicts a devil impeding the escape from hell of two naked figures.H OspringeThe MaisonDieu was built in the 13th century as a medieval hospital and hostel forKings.I Boughton under BleanThe pilgrims saw the 13th century parish church of St Peter and St Paul as theystopped in Boughton under Blean.J HarbledownThe hospital of St Nicholas, Harbledown was founded in 1084 for the relief of lepers.K CanterburyCanterbury Cathedral is the spiritual centre of the Anglican Church and St Thomas aBecket who when he was the Archbishop of Canterbury was murdered there in 1170by the knights of King Henry II.
  • Historians have looked to the Prologue to discover aspects of medieval life, including what people did and how they thought.
  • Peasant’s Revolt (1381) which was waged against unfair limiting of wages and taxes on the workers. It’s an early struggle against feudalism, and forced the young king, Richard II*, to negotiate with the common people. Becket stems from a family of humble knights, but rises to prominence due to his own intelligence, hard work, and family connections. He is educated, studies cannon law, and eventually becomes an archdeacon at Canterbury. He comes to the attention of Henry, who appoints him as the Lord Chancellor. When the Archbishop of Canterbury dies, Becket is nominated. Henry is happy, thinking he’s got Thomas in his pocket.
  • The Canterbury Tales

    1. 1. Metrical Tale  a long narrative poem which tells about the lives of ordinary people;  has element of realism; and  told in first person.
    2. 2. Metrical Romance  embodies the ideals of the medieval times (age of chivalry)  talks about the lives and adventures of the nobility, of chivalry and knighthood
    3. 3. Presentation by Katrin Lutao The Canterbury Tales
    4. 4. Geoffrey Chaucer  c. 1343-1400  Wrote in the vernacular  Served as a soldier, government servant, and member of Parliament  First writer buried in Westminster Abbey Famil y By 1366 Chaucer had married Philippa Pan, who had been in service with the Countess of Ulster. He had two sons and two daughters.
    5. 5. Poet’s Corner
    6. 6. England in the Middle Ages  The Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) was the first national war waged by England.
    7. 7. England in the Middle Ages  The Black Death (1348-1349) brought the end of the Middle Ages.
    8. 8. England in the Middle Ages  Lower, middle, and upper-middle classes developed in the cities.
    9. 9. The Orders of Medieval Society
    10. 10. The Tabard Inn
    11. 11. Canterbury Cathedral became a site for pilgrims to offer prayers to St. Thomas.
    12. 12. Today, a modern cross made from swords marks the site of the martyrdom.
    13. 13. A close- up of the altar.
    14. 14. Wife of Bath  excellent seamstress and weaver;  married 5 times;  with aggressive feminism;  in fancy/colorful clothes: scarlet red stockings;  amorous
    15. 15. Stylistic Elements  Frame Narrative The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories that all fit within one single narrative  Narrative Voice While the tales themselves are narrated by different characters, a scribe writes them down.  Various Literary Genres Chaucer presents many types of literary work: romance, fabliaux, saint story, parable, dialectical discourse, lays, and sermon.
    16. 16. Historic Elements  The pilgrims in Chaucer’s work are truly a motley group. The Canterbury Tales represents a vast representation of people and occupations from the late Middle Ages in England.  The Catholic Church was suffering from corruption, particularly from offences highlighted in The Canterbury Tales, including selling of indulgences and other individual transgressions.
    17. 17. Historic Elements  Ravages of the Black Plague in the 13th and 14th centuries increase the property – and prosperity of farmers. Perpetual need for workers leads to commuting labor force.  Recall that Thomas à Becket was murdered because he refused to appease Henry II by petitioning Rome to get rid of the ecclesiastic courts – or at least to put Henry in charge of them.
    18. 18. Sources mons/thumb/2/2d/Poets_corner.jpg/250px- Poets_corner.jpg raphics/newwork/18.3.11/The-Canterbury- Tales.html