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Canterbury Tales: The Skipper

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by Angela Panzero on 13 November 2012

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Transcript of Canterbury Tales: The Skipper

Canterbury Tales What Was a Skipper? Skippers of the Time Period Skippers of the Time Period The Prologue: Lines 388-391 Although the job description of a skipper was to ship merchants' goods from port to port, it was accepted and almost necessary in Chaucer's day that there was some piracy involved in the trade.
At that point, the King's Navy was fairly small, so skippers were forced to defend themselves and traveled well-armed, and were sometimes encouraged by nobility to plunder enemies at sea to protect the English trade. In the Medieval times, the occupation of skipper was gaining importance as the sea became vital in the midst of England's feudal system for advancements and expansions in trade.
This trade led products to become of higher value than land, and led to the eventual decline of the feudal system. There was a Skipper hailing from far west;
He came from Dartmouth, so I understood.
He rode a farmer's horse as best he could,
In a woollen gown that reached his knee. The Skipper The Prologue: Lines 392-395 A dagger on a lanyard falling free
Hung from his neck under his arm and down.
The summer heat had tanned his color brown,
And certainly he was an excellent fellow. The Prologue: Lines 396-400 Many a draught of vintage, red and yellow,
He'd drawn at Bordeaux, while the trader snored.
The nicer rules of conscience he ignored.
If, when he fought, the enemy vessel sank,
He sent his prisoners home; they walked the plank. As for his skill in reckoning his tides,
Currents, and many another skill besides,
Moons, harbors, pilots, he had such dispatch
That none from Hull to Carthage was his match.
Hardy he was, prudent in undertaking;
His beard in many a tempest had its shaking,
And he knew all the havens as they were
From Gottland to the Cape of Finisterre,
And every creek in Brittany and Spain;
The barge he owned was called the Maudelayne. The Prologue: Lines 401-410 The Skipper's Travels Elements of Literature Inverted word order: Object-Verb-Subject; ex: lines 392-393 "A dagger on a lanyard falling free Hung from his neck under his arm and down."
Allusions and images of piracy: ex: Dartmouth, walking the plank
Metaphors: riding a horse, the barge Madelayne
Iambic pentameter with heroic couplets
Tone: critical comment on moral standards of the time
Mood: The skipper isn't a very good guy
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