The Canterbury Tales & Geoffrey Chaucer. Geoffrey Chaucer Often called “Father of English Poetry” Composed poetry in the vernacular (everyday language);

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Slide 1 The Canterbury Tales & Geoffrey Chaucer Slide 2 Geoffrey Chaucer Often called Father of English Poetry Composed poetry in the vernacular (everyday language); lent respectability to Middle English Little is known of his early education, but his works show that he could read French, Latin, and Italian. Before the age of 20, he served as a soldier in France, was captured and ransomed by the king Government official (ambassador, member of Parliament, justice of the peace) world traveler acquainted with many royal and famous individuals Slide 3 The Canterbury Tales Frame story (stories within a story) a group of pilgrims on the way to the shrine of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury, tell tales along the way to pass the time Each traveler is to tell 4 stories (two going, 2 returning) Chaucer intended to write 120 tales, but only finished 24 Promotes charity and condemns those who are self-serving, self-righteous, and self-involved Slide 4 The Canterbury Tales Cont. Possesses an archetypal unity (we recognize these people by their character traits) Characters represent all social classes Almost a universal pilgrimage of sorts Slide 5 Classes in Society Pilgrims generally fall into 3 major divisions of medieval society Feudal order (Knight and his Squire) The Church (Monk and Nun) Merchant or professional class (Miller and Doctor) Slide 6 Why go on a pilgrimage? Most common reasons for embarking on pilgrimages to improve chances of salvation gain healing touch supposedly found in saints relics atone for sins Other reasons avoid shame of confessing sins at home desire to travel meet new people escape drudgery of daily lives Often, people were attacked or swindled en route; traveling in a group was much safer Slide 7 Notes from the Prologue Read lines 1-41 and answer the following questions Rhyme? Rhythm? What is the tone of the first 18 lines of the Prologue? (examine diction word choice) What words support that tone? Be specific! What time of year is it? Symbolic relevance? What reasons do people seem to have for engaging in pilgrimages, according to the Prologue? Where did the pilgrims assemble? Where are the pilgrims going?

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