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Geoffrey Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales

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Tia Franks

on 14 December 2012

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Transcript of Geoffrey Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer the father of the English language Daddy of English Born 1343 in London
Not much is known about his education
Known as a poet and often as a friend of the nobility
First writer that began to compose in English (instead of French or Latin)
Most famous work is The Canterbury Tales
Died in 1400…buried in Poet’s Corner in the Westminster Abbey What was going on in the 14th Century? The Canterbury Tales Is a frame story ***a frame story happens when secondary stories are embedded inside of a main story***
Was written by Chaucer during a time of great upheaval
It is a social commentary meant to describe the political, religious and social corruption of London in the 1300’s
The destination is not as significant as is the action that occurs along the way. The Tales are not even finished and the destination is never even reached during the course of the writing. the Bubonic Plague terrorized Europe, killing a large portion of the population
The Catholic Church was also in an upheaval. It was caught in a position of deception and uncertainty by priests who were taking money for penitences and followers who disagreed with the priests' actions.
**a penitence is money paid to a priest to ensure a safe journey to heaven**
the fraud occurring within the holy walls influenced Chaucer's work.
During his lifetime, the Hundred Years War between England and France also took place, which again placed a violent element in Chaucer's work
Also, class rank was very important during Chaucer's time. Since so many people were dying during this time the class system somewhat dissolved causing tension. The Bubonic Plague Peaked between 1348-1350
Killed 60% of Europe’s Population
Traveled from China on fleas and rats
Created a series of religious, economic and social issues that devastated Europe for 150 years
As a result of the bubonic plague, Geoffrey Chaucer (of middle class) was allowed a formal education Symptoms First, tumors appear in groin, armpits and neck (oozing, puss, blood, oh my!)
Then fever and vomiting
Lastly, the decaying of flesh
Most people died within 2-7 day of contracting the plague Canterbury, England Canterbury Cathedral Nursery Rhymes “Ring around the rosies/ Pocket full of posies/ Ashes to ashes/ We all fall down”

During this time Nursery Rhymes were created as a way of helping young children understand social issues
Some parts of the Canterbury Tales may have circulated in pamphlet form during Chaucer's life, but the criticism of the Church prevented publishing until after his death.
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