humours estate satire

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Humours Humours & & Estates satire Estates satire Philology 1 week 4 Philology 1 week 4 September 2008 September 2008

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Page 1: Humours Estate Satire

Humours Humours & &

Estates satireEstates satire

Philology 1 week 4Philology 1 week 4

September 2008September 2008

Page 2: Humours Estate Satire

Characters in the Canterbury Tales

General Prologue: a collection of portraits of stereotypes.

The pilgrims in the Prologue are typestypes, not individuals, described according to:

stock scientific conventions astrological character physiological make-up

literary genre of estates satire

Page 3: Humours Estate Satire

Physiological make-up

The world is built out of the four contraries

hot ↔ coldhot ↔ cold moist ↔ dry moist ↔ dry

which combine in the macrocosm to form the elementselements:

hot and dry firefirecold and dry earthearthhot and moist airair cold and moist waterwater

Page 4: Humours Estate Satire

Contraries and Humours

Humans were seen as microcosmic reflections of the larger world. Contraries combine in their bodies to form the humourshumours.

He knew the cause of everich maladye,Were it of hoot, or coold, or moyste, or drye,And where they engendred, and of what humour.

(GP Portrait of the Physician ll. 419–21)

Page 5: Humours Estate Satire

The Humours

hot and dry (fire) → yellow bileyellow bile

cold and dry (earth) → black bileblack bile

hot and moist (air) → bloodblood

cold and moist (water) → phlegmphlegm

Page 6: Humours Estate Satire

Complexion or TemperamentThe predominating humour The predominating humour determines the determines the complexioncomplexion or or temperamenttemperament of individuals:of individuals:

Phlegm Phlegm → PhlegmaticPhlegmatic

Yellow bile Yellow bile → CholericCholeric

Blood → SanguineSanguine

Black bile Black bile → Melancholicelancholic

Page 7: Humours Estate Satire

Choleric complexion (yellow bile)

Tall and lean, red-haired Good memory Ambitious Very nervous Easily angered and angry for a long time Vindictive Extremely lecherous

(Canterbury Tales: the Summoner)

Page 8: Humours Estate Satire

Melancholic complexion (black bile)

Lean, thin but big eater Bad sleeper Introspective Anxious or worried Long angered Fearful dreams Sentimental Scholars, villains, cynics,

(Friar John in the Summoner’s Tale)

Page 9: Humours Estate Satire

Sanguine complexion (blood)

Red-cheeked Plump Merry, sociable and generous Easily angered but easily out of anger Hopeful Good sleeper Sexually very active

(Canterbury Tales: the Miller, the Franklin)

Page 10: Humours Estate Satire

Phlegmatic complexion (phlegm)

White, pale Fat Excessive sleeper Slow Dull in learning Cowardly Not very interested in sex

Page 11: Humours Estate Satire

Estates Satire

Medieval literary genre which gives ananalysis of the vices and the follies of certain social functions, professions (‘themonk’, ‘the doctor’) not of individuals.

Page 12: Humours Estate Satire

‘Non-moral Chaucer’

middle-class man employed at court; trained as a clerk (contemptus mundi) but

enjoyed life at court; Traveller, cosmopolitan; Soldier; Great poet

Page 13: Humours Estate Satire

The four voices in the Cantebury Tales

Chaucer the poet Chaucer the pilgrim The conventional estates satirist The other pilgrims

Page 14: Humours Estate Satire

The Summoner

Officer who carried summonses from an ecclesiastical court to a person charged to appear to answer for a number of offenses (witchcraft, usury, adultery, robbing churches,…).

Page 15: Humours Estate Satire

Chaucer’s Summoner (choleric)

Angry for a long time:Upon this Frere his herte was so wood(l. 1666)

Vindictive: takes revenge on the Friar with his prologue and tale

Good memory: parody of tale about the Cistercians

Extremely lecherous: As hoot he was and lecherous as a sparwe (GP l. 626)

Page 16: Humours Estate Satire

The Friar

Page 17: Humours Estate Satire

Chaucer’s Friar (melancholic) gluttonous: orders a roasted pig's head

(l. 1841)

long angered: reaction to fartan odious mischief / This day bityd is to myn ordre and me (ll. 2190–91)

cynic: news about the baby’s death (l. 1854)

opinionated: free interpretation of the BibleGlosynge is a glorious thyng, certeyn (l. 1793)

Page 18: Humours Estate Satire

We sely freres wedded to poverte …

Poverty Concerned about money Chooses best seat in the house

Chastity Intimate with Thomas’s wife

Obedience He wente his wey; no lenger wolde he reste

With scrippe and tipped staf, ytukked hye (ll. 1736-37) Nys nat a tyle yet withinne oure wones

By God, we owen fourty pound for stones. (ll. 2106-07)

Page 19: Humours Estate Satire

Ire is a thyng that hye God defended

Ire is a synne, oon of the grete of sevene (l. 2005)

The frere up stirte as dooth a wood leoun (l. 2152)

And forth he gooth, with a ful angry cheere (l. 2158)

He looked as it were a wilde boor/ He grynte with his teeth, so was he wrooth (ll. 2160–61)

Unnethes myghte the frere speke a word (l. 2168)

Page 20: Humours Estate Satire

What is a ferthyng worth parted in twelve?

Friars hidden under Satan’s tail (ll. 1689–98) Lo. ‘buf’ … cor meum eructavit (l. 1935) Unfinished state of the ‘fundement’ of the cloister

(l. 2103) Grope

tendrely a conscience (l. 1817) well behynde / there and heere (ll. 2141/2148)

Friar John receives the fart (ll. 2149–51) About the use of ars-metrike (l. 2222) Cartwheel to distribute the present equally

among the friars

Page 21: Humours Estate Satire

Icons forPentecost

Page 22: Humours Estate Satire

John the Evangelist in ‘The Last Supper’

Often portrayed with his head in Christ’s lap (his “nave”)

‘He lay at the breste of his maister Crist and saw there the prevytees of heaven’(Speculum Sacerdotale)

Friar John is entitled to the vulgar offering that Thomas hyd in pryvetee (l. 2143)