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Prologue to the canterbury tales

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Representation of 14th century England in prologue to the Canterbury tales.

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Prologue to the canterbury tales

  1. 1. ASSIGNMENT Topic- ‘Representationof 14th century Englandin thePrologue toThe Canterbury tales.’ Name-Piyush kr. Banerjee M.A (English) sem.1 Paper-Medieval to17th century poetry. Teacher- Amrita ma’m
  2. 2. PROLOGUE TO THE CANTERBURY TALES BY GEOFFREY CHAUCER REPRESENTATION OF 14TH CENTURY ENGLAND IN THE PROLOGUE
  3. 3. PROLOGUE TO THE CANTERBURY TALES Was written by Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) in between 1387 and 1400. Considered one of the greatest works of the English language. The Prologue alone places Chaucer in the category of Shakespeare and Milton. He, along with 29 other pilgrims are going to visit the shrine of Thomas a 'Becket in Canterbury. They are all gathered at the Tabard Inn, where Chaucer meets the other 29 pilgrims and tells us about them in the Prologue. The work remained incomplete as Chaucer could not complete writing the no. Of stories he originally planned to.
  4. 4. CHARACTERS The Knight The Squire The Yeoman The Prioress The Monk The Friar The Merchant The clerk The Sergeant of law The Cook The Wife of Bath The Miller The Parson The Shipman The Summoner The Manciple The Pardoner Harry Bailey
  5. 5. PROLOGUE - PORTRAIT GALLERY OF 14TH CENTURY ENGLAND His Prologue is a real picture gallery in which thirty portraits are hanging on the wall with all of their details and peculiarities. The pilgrims generally fall into three major divisions of the Medieval society- The feudal class The Knight and his Squire The Church The Nun and the Monk The Merchant or the professional class The Miller and the Doctor Nevil Coghill writes about the Prologue– “ It is a precise portrait of an entire nation, high and low, old and young, male and female, learned and ignorant, rogue and righteous...”
  6. 6. Chaucer, in his Prologue, has introduced the characters which form the part of the medieval society and represent various aspects of the society. John Dryden said- “[Chaucer] has taken into the compass of his Canterbury Tales, the various manners and humors of the whole English nation in his age. Not a single character has escaped him. All his pilgrims are severally distinguished from each other.....” Chaucer’s religious views are expressed through the characters of the Prioress, the Monk and the Parson. The characters in Chaucer’s Prologue are for all ages and for all lands.
  7. 7. CHAUCER’S ART OF CHARACTERISATIONTim Brink wrote: “We receive such an exact idea of the men he (Chaucer) is describing that we can almost see them bodily before our eyes” Chaucer is the first great painter of character in English literature. The thirty portraits traced by Chaucer give us an excellent idea of the society at that time. The different pilgrims represent different professionals. Chaucer has encompassed every aspect of the society through his characters which has the Knight, as well as the poor Parson, the Prioress, as well as the Sergeant of law. Thus, the characters in The Canterbury Tales are types as well as individual.
  8. 8. CONCLUSION The Prologue is a very precious historical document for someone who wishes to have a glimpse of the life of that time. Chaucer uses the technique of contrast in drawing the portraits of the pilgrims. We have the paragon of virtue in the Parson and the Ploughman and monsters of vice in the Reeve, the Miller and the Summoner. Chaucer presents a very positive picture of the ruling class. His religious ideal is seen through the character of the Parson.
  9. 9. Chaucer has been called an outstanding representative poet of his age because of the typical element in his characterization. “The Canterbury Tales” can help many students and people everywhere learn more about the life in the Middle Ages.

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