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Geoffrey Chaucer And The Canterbury Taleswww.jbhs.ccs.k12.nc.us/.../Geoffrey%20Chaucer%20and%20the%20Canterbury%20Tales.ppt,modified by Rebecca Oberg
Early Life Exact birth date unknown ◦ (c. 1343-1400) Father was a respected wine merchant—worked for many important people, including the king Father found Chaucer employment as a “page.” Ran errands, delivered messages, carried baggage, etc. ◦ Able to observe behavior of aristocrats Began to dislike people with money and many members of the Church
YOUNG ADULT LIFE•Served in the English Army • Stationed in France • Taken hostage by the French government • King of England paid ransom (16 pounds)—equivalent to a year’s pay for most Britains at the time • Chaucer did not gain any more respect for king•1366—married Philippa de Roet. She died in 1387 • Scholars believe they had three children. Little is known about them: • Thomas • Elizabeth • Lewis•Began to write negatively about the government andcorruption in the Church
Government Positions•King wanted Chaucer on his side—gave him high-paying jobs that freed up his time so he could write: •Controller of Customs •Justice of the Peace •Member of Parliament •Diplomat to France and Italy •Supervisor of repairs and construction at Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London •Subforester of the King’s Forest•Backfired on king—gave Chaucer more time towrite, a great deal of money, and even more negativebehavior to include in his writing
Writings•Began producing poetry in his twenties •Was not received well•First book was called The Romance of the Rose •Long narrative medieval romance •Chaucer translated much of it to Middle English, though he did not actually write it•Greatest work is called The Canterbury Tales •Began writing it in 1386 •Left unfinished when he died in 1400
Death Died in 1400 Buried in “Poets’ Corner” of Westminster Abbey First person to be buried there 2nd most famous British author ever (only Shakespeare more famous)
The Canterbury Tales Frame story—a series of stories within a story ◦ Prologue is the frame ◦ Individual tales are WITHIN the frame Pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket 30 total pilgrims AND the host (innkeeper) ◦ Innkeeper is Chaucer—he is their host and will judge the contest
The Canterbury Tales cont’dPilgrims come from the three main segments of medieval society ◦ Church ◦ Royal Court ◦ CommonersUses different characters to explain his prejudices about certain groups of people=STEREOTYPINGEach character had flaws OR virtues that were apparent in the tales that they told
The Prologue Sets up the frame Introduces the characters ◦ Stereotypes them Explains the trip and the contest ◦ 50 mile trip from The Tabard Inn in Southwark, England to Canterbury ◦ To pass the time, each pilgrim will tell TWO tales on the way to the shrine, and TWO on the way back
The Prologue cont’d•Innkeeper will judge the tales•Winner receives a free dinner when they return tothe Tabard•30 pilgrims=how many tales total? •SHOULD be 120 •Only 24 tales were finished •Chaucer died before he could finish all of the tales•Told in 1st person from the Innkeeper’s point-of-view •Scholars think it’s Chaucer speaking
“The Pardoner’s Tale”One of the tales in “The Canterbury Tales”What is a Pardoner? ◦ Church official with a license from the Pope to grant “indulgences” (forgiveness) ◦ Also collected money (supposed to be for tithing) ◦ Corrupt pardoners SOLD forgiveness for money ◦ This pardoner manipulates people into buying forgiveness from sins—even threatens them
“The Pardoner’s Tale” cont’d Preface (introduction) told in 1st person by Pardoner ◦ Describes himself ◦ Brags about his FLAW ◦ Tells the tale’s theme “Radix malorem est cupiditas” Greed is the root of all evil ◦ GREED is defined as the love of something beyond one’s own needs ◦ It is one of the Seven Deadly Sins
“The Pardoner’s Tale” cont’d Three main characters ◦ Referred to as the three rioters The devil is portrayed in many forms Characters are looking for death personified Includes a final plea from the Pardoner for the pilgrims to buy forgiveness from him