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  • Chaucer’s background enables him to give us a rich and varied portraits of contemporaries from every walk of life Born around 1340
  • By adventure (chance) Most of these people on the journey would never have anything to do with each other socially. Differing social classes, orders, etc. The best way for Chaucer to bring together Makes comprehensive study of humans (his favorite subject) Perfect way to present his special brand of irony
  • Each pilgrim is supposed to tell two stories on the way to Canterbury and two stories on the way back. Plan is proposed by Harry Bailey, the host of the Tabard Inn Teller of best tale is rewarded at the end with a dinner provided by his fellow pilgrims at the Tabard. Harry Bailey will be the judge
  • Prologue sets the scene and introduces reader to the characters Between many of the tales Chaucer provides links that expound upon the personalities of the pilgrims (adds more dramatic interest). Number of arguments that prepare for subsequent tales Some pilgrims introduce a tale with a commentary on his own personal life
  • Begins with a long, rhetorical sentence in “high style” describing spring. Gradually descends into a more “realistic” style of expository narrative. Very “easy to read” conversational
  • Group is on its way to the holy shrine of St. Thomas à Becket Archbishop of Canterbury who opposed Henry II over the balance between royal and religious power; was murdered in the cathedral Considered a martyr and later made a saint His blood was held to contain great curative qualities, restoring health to the sick Some are going to the shrine to have their sicknesses healed. (Small quantities of Becket’s blood was given to pilgrims for centuries after his death
  • The knight is the first of the pilgrims to be introduced. This is appropriate since the Kinght stands at the top of the social hierarchy in this gathering and since is is a virtuous character and embodies a standard of behavior against which some of the subsequent characters will be judged and found wanting.
  • The list of the places in which the knight fought would have a romantic ring to Chaucer’s readers. Christendom in the The list of the places in which the knight fought would have a romantic ring to Chaucer’s readers. Christendom in the 14 th century was relatively small, and circumscribed by heatheness – mysterious lands and pe op les described by the occasional traveler. Yet the Knight’s campaigns are all real enough. They have been divided by historians into three group0s, chronologially: 1) inlcudes the long struggle to expel the Moorish invaders from Spain. The second group of campaigns occurred in the Great Sea – eastern Mediterranean & Asia Minor Third: borders of eastern and western Europe (

Transcript

  • 1. Canterbury Tales The General Prologue
  • 2. Canterbury Tales
    • Written around 1387-1400
    • Written by Geoffrey Chaucer
      • Soldier
      • Courtier
      • Royal emissary to Europe
      • Controller of customs
      • Justice of the peace
      • Member of Parliament
      • artist
  • 3. Prologue
    • Chaucer has the idea to bring together 29 “sondry folk” in a pilgrimage (“by aventure [chance]”)
      • Represent a wide range of 14 th century English society
        • Makes comprehensive study of humans
        • Perfect way to present his irony
  • 4. Prologue
    • Represent a wide range of 14 th century English society
      • 3 Groups Represent:
        • Agricultural feudalism
          • Landownership and service
            • Knight’s yeoman
            • Franklin
        • Urbanization
          • Change in feudal structure
            • Doctor
            • Guildsmen
        • The Church
          • One of the most powerful elements in medieval soceity
            • 9 of pilgrims belong to clergy
  • 5. Prologue
    • Each pilgrim
      • tell two stories on the way to Canterbury
      • two stories on the way back
        • Plan proposed by Harry Bailey, host of the Tabard Inn
    • Teller of best tale is rewarded at the end
      • A dinner provided by his fellow pilgrims at the Tabard
        • Harry Bailey is judge
  • 6. Prologue
    • Prologue sets the scene and introduces reader to the characters
    • Between many of the tales Chaucer expounds upon the personalities of the pilgrims.
      • Number of arguments that prepare for subsequent tales
      • Some pilgrims introduce a tale with a commentary on his/her own personal life
  • 7. Prologue
    • Chaucer’s project was never finished
      • Only 24 tales exist
    • Tales were probably composed at various times in Chaucer’s life
  • 8. Prologue
    • Begins with a long, rhetorical sentence in “high style” describing spring.
    • Gradually descends into a more “realistic” style of expository narrative.
  • 9. Prologue
    • Group is on its way to the holy shrine of St. Thomas ă Becket
      • Archbishop of Canterbury
        • opposed Henry II over the balance between royal and religious power
        • was murdered in the cathedral
          • Considered a martyr and later made a saint
          • His blood was held to contain great curative qualities, restoring health to the sick
  • 10. The Knight
    • Was an honorable warrior who fought for Christianity against the heathens.
    • Appropriate that he is the first pilgrim to be introduced because he stands at the top of the social hierarchy, thus is the most socially prominent person on the journey.
    • Tells the first story; many offer him compliments.
    • All of the battles mentioned that he fought in were religious wars of some kind.
  • 11. The Knight
    • Prologue’s description:
      • Worthy man
      • Loved the following
        • Chivalry
        • Fidelity
        • Honor (good reputation)
        • Generosity
        • courtesy
      • Honored for his worthiness in war
  • 12. The Knight
    • Prologue’s description:
      • Fought in many battles/ had “been at many a noble expedition”
        • Alexandria
        • Prussia
        • Lithuania/Latvia
        • Russia
        • Grenada at siege of Algeciras to Belmarye (north Africa)
        • Morocco
        • The Mediterranean
        • Tiemcen
        • Turkey
  • 13. The Knight
    • Prologue’s description:
      • Even though he was brave, he was prudent
      • Deportment: “meek as a maid”
      • Never said any rude word in all his life to any person
      • Horses were good
      • Clothing/dress
        • Not gaudily dressed
        • Tunic of coarse cloth, stained with rust from his chain mail suit
          • Has just returned from an expedition
  • 14. The Knight’s Tale
    • Probably adapted from Boccaccio’s Teseide
    • Tale of ideal love and chivalry.
    • Would be a popular type of tale in Chaucer’s day.
  • 15. The Knight’s Tale
    • Premise:
      • Two Thebian knights, Palamon & Arcite, fall in love with the same woman, Emelye, whom they see only from their prison window in Athens.
      • Their life-long friendship is immediately disrupted by their rivalry for Emelye.
      • In time Arcite is released from prison on the condition that he never again set foot in Athens.
      • Palamon eventually escapes years later.
  • 16. The Knight’s Tale
    • The men meet by chance in a grove hear Athens and are about to fight when Theseus and his company interrupt them.
    • After forgiving the knights for their past, Theseus schedules a tournament (50 weeks later) for the hand of Emelye.
    • Arcite wins the tournament, but scarcely has had time to claim his fair prize when the misaligned planet Saturn causes him to fall from his horse and die shortly afterward.
  • 17. The Knight’s Tale
    • Palamon forgets his ill feelings toward Arcite and retires to Thebes, where he mourns his former friend.
    • Several years later, Theseus summons Palamon, who is still mourning and wearing black, and gives him Emelye in marriage.
    • Makes of two sorrows one “parfit joye, lastynge everemo.”
  • 18. The Knight’s Tale
    • Not much action in the romance.
    • Two knights are almost the same
      • Both
        • Make speeches declaring their love
        • Curse their destiny
        • Pray to their respective gods
  • 19. The Knight’s Tale
    • Conflict that a story about medieval knights and their customs would be set in ancient Greece.
  • 20.
    • Knight
    • Squire
    • Yeoman
    • Prioress
    • Monk
    • Friar
    • Merchant
    • Clerk
  • 21.
    • Sergeant
    • Franklin
    • Guildsmen
    • Cook
    • Shipman
    • Doctor
    • Wife of Bath
    • Parson
  • 22.
    • Miller
    • Manciple
    • Reeve
    • Summoner
    • Pardoner
    • Poet
    • Host (innkeeper Harry Bailey)