“father of english poetry” geoffrey chaucer 1343-1400
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Father of English PoetryGeoffrey Chaucer1343-1400
ChaucerHe is considered the Greatest English Poet of the Middle AgesHe was a well-known government official who had the honor to serve under three different Kings:Edward IIIRichard IIHenry IV
Early LifeBorn c. 1343Son of a prosperous wine merchantIn his mid teens, he was placed in the service of a Countess so he could obtain a better education and be schooled in both court and society life.Thus, he would have learned Latin and some Greek as well as French and Italian.
Early Life (cont.)In, 1360 Chaucer joined the royal household and became a trusted messenger and minor diplomat for the King.He was so important to the King that when he was captured in France during the Hundred Years War the King paid his ransom.
Other Jobs Chaucer Heldand Learned From...Controller of Customs on Wools, Skins and Hides for the Port of LondonHere he would meet many types of businessmen, sailors, travelers city folk and common laborersClerk of the Kings WorksIn charge of construction and repairs affecting the royal residences; here he would meet many guildsmen as well as court officialsDeputy Forester of the Kings ForestsAway from the city, he met peasants, foresters, local clergy and other country folkRepresentative of the Shire of Kent in ParliamentHere he met the rich, the influential and the upper middle class as well as the higher ranking church officials
ChaucerHad a high work ethic.Motto: work first, writing was a means of pleasure.Wrote in the language of the people and with his own Style: IAMBIC PENTAMETERCOUPLET
ChaucerChaucer used several metrical forms and some prose.His dominant meter was IAMBIC PENTAMETERa line of 10 syllables; unstressed followed by stressed.He is responsible for making this the most popular metric form in literature.Finally abandoning the alliterative world of poetry. (first advance into the modern lang.)
ChaucerHis favorite rhyme scheme was the COUPLET: two consecutive lines of poetry that rhyme. (2 types)
Heroic Couplet: A couplet that presents a complete thought.Open Couplet: A couplet that has no complete thought; thought continues into the next couplet and so on.
Chaucer died October 25, 1400 and was the 1st to be buried in what is now called Poets Corner in Westminster Abbey.
The Canterbury TalesChaucers most famous piece of writing was the Canterbury Tales.Scholars say that the Prologue alone puts him in a class with Shakespeare and Milton.C. T. were written between 1387-1400They were NEVER COMPLETED!The tales were written as a concise portrait of an entire nation going through the ups and downs of life during the Middle Ages. **A way for Chaucer to Satire England. (Remember the end of The Knights Tale??)
The Canterbury TalesThe Canterbury Tales begin with a general prologue introducing the setting, (where/when), and the 29 travelers going on the pilgrimage to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket at the Canterbury Cathedral. As the prologue progresses you will be introduced to each individual character who will then tell their tale.FRAME STORY TECHNIQUE: story within a story. Chaucer will be telling the story while all of his characters tell their own story, within the tales themselves.
Characters will be described by:Their jobThe type and color of their clothingTheir accessories (jewelry, pets, other portables)The way they actTheir incomeTheir secretsTheir status in society as a wholeThe way they speak / their slang or accentTheir mode of transportation
Chaucers Plan ...Each character would tell 2 stories going and 2 stories coming home from Canterbury.
Why do you suppose they did this??
But why go to Canterbury?
Canterbury was a Pilgrimage SitePeople of all classes went on pilgrimages to holy sites to ask for help with medical, financial or other problems.
The Shrine ofSt. Thomas BecketThe travelers in Chaucers CT were headed to the Shrine of Thomas Becket.
Becket was a trusted adviser and friend of King Henry II who later named Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Beckets outspoken style angered the King. One day, Henry complained, Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest? Three knights rode to Canterbury where they found Becket at the altar of Canterbury Cathedral.
There, at the altar, they beheaded Becket.
Canterbury Cathedral became a site for pilgrims to offer prayers to St. Thomas.
Today, a modern cross made from swords marks the site of the martyrdom.
The fact that Chaucer wrote in Middle English, rather than French or Latin like many of his fellow writers, meant that ordinary folk could enjoy The Canterbury Tales and their vivid characters.
The late fourteenth century world was still very much one of the spoken word. Books were copied out by hand and were a rare luxury till the advent of the printing press 70 years later. The educated elite could read, but they preferred to hear texts read out loud for entertainment. The Canterbury Tales, with their earthy humor and and vivid dialogue, were a runaway success.
So, lets travel back to London, to the area called Southward, and stop at the Tabard Inn.
Well meet the characters and hear their stories.
So the story begins...