Canterbury Tales Thank You Geoffrey, Thank You!


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Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is reviewed by Martin CJ Mongiello.

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Canterbury Tales Thank You Geoffrey, Thank You!

  1. 1. Martin CJ Mongiello The Art Institute of Pittsburgh World Literature ENG250 April 15, 2010 Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales When the intelligence of a gifted and well-educated author is displayed on paper for all of the centuries to read - you have a great written work. When he who is intelligent is a noble taking up the plight of the common person speaking out about the church and government – you have a hero. Such as the legacy of Geoffrey Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales. For he could have been content with his gold and mighty place in government. He could have allowed his servants to bathe and wash him as well as fit on his shoes in the morning so he would not need to bend down while taking a nap daily and ordering around his many employees. Why lift a finger for the filthy peasants, the commoners, the many slew …but he did lift a finger, at least two…and he held his pen steady and strong. The Canterbury tales is an exhibit of a well-traveled man who also had been in the military with the English in France and was actually captured in ransomed one time. He had a great wealth of international experience as well as HY position in the English government. At times, he had been the comptroller of customs in the port of London, Knight of the Shire and deputy forester of the royal forest of North Petherton in Somerset. His vast experience and society from the military man all the way up to high office gave him a bird’s eye view of each position in the cast system. His Canterbury Tales (he wrote and published many other books as well) is a collection of stories written in Middle English where he gets to take on the role of numerous people in society (from low to high) and have them speak aloud. Who else could actually have performed this feat during this time in the world? Who else could speak on behalf of the average pilgrim yet know how a Knight felt? Chaucer also uses his technical skills in not writing a story, but instead performing inside of his own poem (similar to a Decameron). At the end of the fourteenth century, he speaks on behalf of the common person (and woman!) about English society and especially the church. Listen to the truth of how common folks feel.
  2. 2. Listen to them complain, or, listen to them make fun of things they do not like! Listen to the Miller’s tale where Nicholas plans to make love with the Miller’s wife – an often repeated story throughout history and very natural for all people to understand. Consider Tiger Woods and his entire situation – the stories that were interesting to read then are still occurring now! The Miller’s tale, like all of the other poems, is relevant and fresh. In summation, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales uses the strength and power of an educated man to tell the story of the common person. It is a heroic, highly awarded work that is both giving and loving - in that a common person could not have written such a great work. Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales has therefore allowed millions of people to experience and know how regular folk felt and talked in the middle ages. It is skillfully written and heralded as a masterpiece! Thank you Geoffrey. Thank you, sir. Delasanta, R. "Penance and Poetry in the Canterbury Tales." Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 93.2 (1978): 240-7. Print. Ellis, R. Patterns of Religious Narrative in the Canterbury Tales. Taylor & Francis, 1986. Print. Hallissy, M. A Companion to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Greenwood Pub Group, 1995. Print. Lawall, S. N., and M. Mack. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Norton. Print. Miller, M. Philosophical Chaucer: Love, Sex, and Agency in the Canterbury Tales. Cambridge Univ Pr, 2004. Print. Schildgen, B. D. Pagans, Tartars, Moslems, and Jews in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. University Press of Florida, 2001. Print.