By Geoffrey Chaucer William Carey UniversityGifted Creativity Workshop Saturday January 19, 2013
The Canterbury Tales is the most famous and critically acclaimed work of Geoffrey Chaucer, a late- fourteenth-century English poet. Chaucer’s original plan for The Canterbury Tales was for each character to tell four tales, two on the way to Canterbury and two on the way back. But, instead of 120 tales, the text ends after twenty-four tales, and the party is still on its way to Canterbury.
Chaucer either planned to revise the structure to stop the work at twenty-four tales, or else left it incomplete when he died on October 25, 1400. William Caxton, England’s first printer, published The Canterbury Tales in the 1470s, and it continued to enjoy a rich printing history that never truly faded.
The pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales traveled to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket. He was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. He engaged in conflict with Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church and was murdered by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral. Beckets tomb became one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in England.
At the Tabard Inn, atavern in Southwark, nearLondon, the narrator joinsa company of twenty-ninepilgrims. The pilgrims, likethe narrator, are travelingto the shrine of the martyrSaint Thomas Becket inCanterbury.
Today we will introduce you to five ofthe pilgrims. You will learn about themand why they are traveling to the shrine. The Wife of Bath The Prioress The Monk The Merchant The Physician
She is a seamstress by occupation She has been married five times and had many other affairs in her youth, making her well practiced in the art of love. She takes pleasure in rich attire, talking, and arguing. She is deaf in one ear and has a gap between her front teeth, which was considered attractive in Chaucer’s time.
Modest and quiet, the head nun of her convent. She has exquisite taste and dresses well. Her table manners are dainty and she is charitable and compassionate. She knows French (though not the French of the court).
Most monks of the Middle Ages devoted their lives to “work and prayer.” This Monk cares little for the Rule. His devotion is to hunting and eating. He is large, has a shiny face and a shiny bald head, along with bulging, darting eyes. He is loud, and well clad in hunting boots and furs. His hood is fastened with an expensive gold clasp.
He is arrogant and gives his opinion on English trade policies in a pompous manner. He has a forked beard and is well dressed with fashionable motley colored clothes, stylish Flemish beaver hat and expensive boots. He is a representative of the rising middle classes.
The Physician is one of the best in his profession, for he knows the cause of every disease or ailment and can cure most of them. He was also highly trained in astronomy. Though the Physician keeps himself in perfect physical health, he devoted little time to read the Bible. He had made a lot of money during the plague and clung to it as if his very life depended on it. He has an unhealthy love of financial gain.
We want you to create your own pilgrims to join the caravan to journey with them to the shrine. You have met up with them at the tavern and will continue the rest of the way on the journey together. Grab a partner and decide what type of pilgrim you will be.
You are your partner will decide on what your pilgrims will look like, what their profession will be. You will also create their background story. Decide why your pilgrims are traveling to the shrine.
In the next station you will write your story. After that, you will get the chance to make your costumes. Later you and your partner will create a backdrop or background for your characters. Finally you will perform your small plays for the rest of the group! Let’s get started!!!