ChauCer’sCanterbury Tales Kathleen Hickey English 12 November 29, 2012
ConsiderYou are going on a 55 mile journey . . . • by horse • with a group of people you don’t know • with a group of people from different classes and professions What would you do to pass the time?
This is the premise of ChauCer’s the Canterbury Tales• 29 pilgrims traveling from Southwark (2 miles outside of London) to Canterbury (55 miles away) engage in a storytelling contest. The teller of the best story wins a meal at Bailey’s tavern.
What is a pilgrimage?• A pilgrimage is a journey to a shrine important to a person’s beliefs or faith.• In The Canterbury Tales, the pilgrims are traveling to St. Thomas Becket’s Shrine in the Canterbury Cathedral.
How many tales are there? • Each pilgrim (and there are 29) is to tell 4 tales, 2 on the way to Canterbury and two on the way home. Do the math. How many tales would have Chaucer written? • Chaucer only wrote 24 tales, all of which occur on the way to Canterbury. What can we surmise?Also, figure out how long it would have taken the • Some tales are prose others are verse. pilgrims to reach Canterbury, 55 miles away, if they covered 10 miles a day?
Who are the pilgrims?• Chaucer’s pilgrims represent all classes, all professions in medieval England. Clerk Narrator Summoner Wife of Bath Miller Knight Friar Manciple Squire Prioress Yeoman Two nuns Shipman Summoner Physician Parson Merchant Monk Pardoner Nun’s Priest Franklin 2 Nuns Reeve Cook Lawyer “Man of Law” What do the columns tell
Who was Chaucer? • 1343 – 25 October 1400 (the same time the story occurs) • Author, bureaucrat, alchemist, courtier diplomat (why is this important?) • Considered Father of English Poetry • Buried in Poet’s Corner of West Minster Abbey
Were the tales a book?• Some tales are prose, some are verse. They exist as manuscripts.• The best known manuscript, The Ellesmere Chaucer or Ellesmere Manuscript, is from the early 15th century.• You can see it at the Huntington
Is that manuscript in English?• Yes, Middle English.• Remember Bewoulf was in Old English.
What did Middle English sound like?• Listen to youtube vide: http://youtu.be/nN5YhPmwvf4.
How are tales organized?• Prologue • Narrator introduces himself and explains the journey and the contest. • In the Prologue, the narrator tells us that the Knight will tell his story first, but the Miller then interrupts the Knight. • We don’t really know what order Chaucer intended because the manuscripts are all different.
What genre are the tales?• Fabliaux• Bestiary• Sermons• Courtly love
Which pilgrims?• Character development is Chaucer’s strength.• He uses physical descriptions, the tales, and reactions to tales to develop each pilgrim.• We will study the Miller’s tale together.
the Miller’s tale• How does Chaucer describe the Miller?• What does his drunken interruption tell you about him?• Why does he tell a tale about a carpenter?• What genre is his tale? Fabliaux.
Your Assignment• Create a Fakebook, Travel Blog, or picmonkey collage to show us who your assigned pilgrim is, what his tale is about, what his character is. See examples on my blog.• Whichever method you choose, focus on character development, the tale, and any writing techniques Chaucer uses to make this pilgrim and his tale come alive.• Your group will present the pilgrim and his tale to the class via the blog, Fakebook, or