The Canterbury Tales: Prologue Written between 1380-1392 by Geoffrey Chaucer Background Information Poetic style: Written in Middle English in iambic pentameter (abandons alliterative verse) rhymed couplets, later called heroic couplets Uses rime royal or Chaucerian stanza: 7 line iambic pentameter stanza rhyming ababbcc. The speaker of the poem (often thought to be Chaucer himself) is in a London tavern.

He meets some nine and twenty in a company of sundry folks who plan on making the pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas a Becket (60 miles; 3 days of travel). Saint Thomas a Becket, an archbishop, opposed Henry IIs rule to grant immunity to bishops from the law. He wanted to try bishops who committed crimes, and, as a result, was murdered. King Henry is said to have exclaimed, Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest? The speaker decides he will join them and suggests that everyone tell one story Types of Story Frame Narrative a story told within a story often to set the scene or tone for the main

narrative Examples: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Turn of the Screw Henry James Types of Stories Within the Canterbury Tales, there are 24 stories (22 of which are complete). Most of them fall within one of these types: Allegory:

Just as Pilgrims progress is an allegory of a spiritual journey, Canterbury tales is one as well-illustrating the journey that all lives take (different paths) and how one is not always right Exemplum: a moral anecdote, brief or extended, real or fictitious, used to illustrate a point (often a sermon) Courtly Romance Fable: short story with animals, often includes a moral

Fabliaux: The fabliaux is defined as a short narrative in verse, between 300 and 400 lines long, its content Literary Terms: Chaucer is known for his artful characterization Direct Characterization Indirect Characterization

When the narrator reveals information about a character by telling the reader about this character (appearance, personality etc.) When the narrator shows the reader something about the character through the character's actions, things the character says, or things other characters say.

Literary Terms (cont.) Satire The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize vice. What makes this video clip an example of satire? Dominant Themes 1.Courtly love 2.Corruption of the Catholic Church Symbols

Springtime: rebirth, renewal, erotic love, fresh beginnings Physiognomy: characterizing and determining ones temperament based on physical appearance Clothing: what lies beneath the surface

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