"The Canterbury Tales" and the History of 14th Century England
The Canterbury Tales th and the History of 14 Century England Including the biography of Geoffrey Chaucer (13431400) Medieval Social Theory England was made up of three estates or classes (similar to
that of the feudal system) The Nobility The Church The Commoners The Nobility Composed of a small hereditary aristocracy Mission on earth was to rule over and defend the body of
the politic (people). Usually had most of the money and land ownership The Church Look after the spiritual welfare of the people. Usually divided amongst the people, but Christianity comprised most of the
religion of the people. The Commoners Provided the work and labor to sustain the society Agricultural workers Fishermen Merchants Medieval Riddle #1
Oft I must strive with wind and wave, Battle them both when under the sea I feel out the bottom, a foreign land. In lying still I am strong in the strife; If I fail in that they are stronger than I, And wrenching me loose, soon put me to rout. They wish to capture what I must keep. I can master them both if my grip holds out, If the rocks bring succor and lend support, Strength in the struggle. Ask me my name! Answer to Medieval
Riddle #1 An Anchor Social Change at the end of the 14th Century World changing more rapidly Different social classes were intermarrying Some merchants becoming richer than land owners Brought about economic, social,
and political change Emergence of the Middle Class Hundred Years War Takes place between France and England from 1337-1453 (116 years all together) Times of peace in between, but roughly 100 years of warfare between the two.
English Kings were descendants of the French Kings (Invasion of England by the Normans in 1066) French kings upset that English kings had more land then them, so the went back and forth about who could control which lands and how much The Black Death
Also called the Black Plague or Bubonic Plague of the 14th Century Killed nearly one-third (1/3) of Europes entire population from 1347-1351 A.D. Caused upheaval against various religious and social groups including: Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Foreigners, Beggars, etc. Slowed the progress of the Hundred Years War
Medieval Riddle #2 In former days my father and mother, Abandoned me dead, lacking breath Or life or being. Then one began, A kinswoman kind, to care for and love me; Covered me with her clothing, wrapped me in her raiment, With the same affection she felt for her own; Until by the law of my life's shaping, Under alien bosom I quickened with breath. My foster mother fed me thereafter, Until I grew sturdy and strengthened for flight.
Then of her dear ones, of daughters and sons, She had the fewer for what she did. Answer to Medieval Riddle #2 A Bird Geoffrey Chaucer Born
in London, 1343, son of a wine merchant Grew up in London Vintry, where ships docked with wines from France and Spain Grew up during the Hundred Years War & Black Death Pandemic Grew up around various people from different walks of life Learned new languages: French & Latin Geoffrey Chaucer
Chaucer becomes apprenticed to nobility Fine Schooling at the Count of Ulster Learned etiquette and manners Followed a strict Christian practice Worked on keeping books during the Hundred Years War for Edward III Becomes ambassador and travels to Spain, France, Italy, etc. and learns
more languages and skills Pilgrimage to Canterbury The pilgrimage from Southwark (Southern part of London) to Canterbury took 10-14 days depending on weather conditions and number of travelers. The Canterbury Talesin 1386 Idea contrived originally Story
was to be a collection of 120 stories that were told by various pilgrims on a pilgrimage. (30 pilgrims: 2 stories on the way there, 2 stories on the way back) Published version: 24 stories (2 in prose, 22 in verse) Pilgrimage was for Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury that was murdered at his cathedral in 1170 A.D. The Canterbury Tales
Tales were told by characters from different classes and walks of life Idea was to give the readers a perspective with respect to values and characteristics ascribed to particular social or economic groups (middle class, religious officials, etc.) Stories are competitive, follow various formats, different tones, different narrators, etc. The stories reflect the values of the
characters that orated them. Medieval Riddle #3 A lonely wanderer, wounded with iron, I am smitten with war-blades, sated with strife, Worn with the sword-edge; I have seen many battles, Much hazardous fighting, oft without hope Of comforts or help in the carnage of war Ere I perish and fall in the fighting of men. The leavings of hammers, the handiwork of smiths, Batter and bite me, hard-edged and sharp; The brunt of the battle I am doomed to endure. In
all the folk-stead no leech could I find With wort or simple to heal my wounds; But day and night with the deadly blows The marks of the war-blades double and deepen. What am I? Answer to Medieval Riddle #3 A Shield General Prologue
Introduction of the story Introduction of the characters Special emphasis placed on characterization Physical appearance, clothing, accessories, behaviors, etc. Understanding their place with regard to social status is indicative of what kind of
story they are likely to produce. Allows reader to establish moral judgments Seven Deadly Sins One of the underlying motifs in the tales is the use of the Cardinal Sins Wrath Through elaborate characterization, nearly all of
Pride Chaucers pilgrims were Envy seemingly guilty of one or more of these sins. Greed Emphasis of sin was based Gluttony on physical appearance, behavior, monetary situation, Sloth and/or allusion to sexual
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