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Canterbury Tales Prologue
Transcript of Canterbury Tales Prologue
Innkeeper: Harry Bailly
30 pilgrims to tell 4 tales each
(2 on the way there;
2 on the way back)
Winner gets a free meal at the Inn
Embroidered clothes with red and white flowers, like a "meadow"
Red: symbolizes passion
White: symbolizes innocence
For his love
For his youth
Patron Saint of Travelers
Carrying sword, dagger, bow, shield, hunting horn
Wearing "medal of St. Christopher"
Green coat with hood
Brace on his arm
But slightly negative . . . ?
pilgrimage during Middle Ages
The pilgrimage begins!
murdered by knights of Henry II
Archbishop of Canterbury
By Geoffrey Chaucer
Fighting around the world:,
Heroic and Romantic Qualities:
20 yrs old
Hundred Years War
Sang, danced, drew
Played flute all day
Lover who would be a knight
Helped "whoever he was able"
Concerned with appearances
The Fair Friar
Worthy Woman of Bath
"I noot how men hym calle."
Have a specific job or role in society
Have specific social expectations
Fit within the feudal hierarchy
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote...
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
Nevertheless, while I have space and time,
Before I go further in this tale of mine,
I feel the most natural thing to do,
Is to picture each of this group for you,
To tell you how they all appeared to me -
What sort they were and what rank they might be,
And what they wore, the clothes they were dressed in;
And first then with a knight I shall begin.
Social and Economic Opportunists
Aspiring middle class
Non-traditional roles without
clearly delineated expectations
Still expected to hold traditional
social and moral values
Expensive beaver hat
Stylish forked beard
Sat handsomely in saddle
Medieval stock broker/financial advisor
Knows exchange rates
Shrewd business tips
Material values and concerns
Situational irony: appearance of
wealth and monetary knowledge, but
in reality = He was in debt
Rode a skinny horse
Study! Study! Study!
"Gladly would he learn and
Intellectual & Moral Values
Appearance vs. Reality:
Not thin to appear studious;
He was thin because he was studious!
Books more important than Food
(red & black Aristotle)
Plain, silk, belted coat
(not showy, but of good quality)
Interpreting & applying the law
Arguing cases in court
Studying - knew all cases and laws
Appeared busier than he was
Claims Law of Precedent
"No one could pick a loophole or a flaw
in any lease or contract he might draw"
(b/c they were that good, or
b/c he was that shrewd?)
"And in his house it snowed of meat and drink"
Santa Clause: pure white beard
Carries: a silk purse
a white dagger
Eating and drinking!!!!
Local politician: Justice of Peace
House of Commons rep.
Sheriff & county auditor
"held the opinion that the only measure
of perfect happiness was simply pleasure"
St. Julian to the countryside
Stresses the Franklin's temporal earthly values
"there was on earth no such proprietor"
Def: a wealthy landowner
aspiring upper class
Members of a Trade Guild
5 dif. professions -
General appearance of gear:
new, very clean,
work pouches-well made & neat
Appear successful & hard working
Showy - fancy gear
"Each one was likely timber
to make an alderman"
Wives to be titled "madame" &
march in parades
Traveled with the
Had an ulcer on his leg
Cooking! Good seasonings!
"the ulcer had great harm in it!"
Clothes of blood red taffeta &
Persian blue silk
Great student of medicine
(ancient doctors & modern treatments)
Combines medicine and astrology
Knows the humors
Opportunistic: made money off
other's misfortunes (plague)
In cahoots with pharmacist
Gave no heed to Scripture
gold = medicinal value
"had a special love for gold"
Dagger on a string from his neck
Joggles as he rides
Captain of Madeleine - famous pirate ship
Very knowledgeable in navigation
"too fine a point of honor he never kept"
No value for life
"drowned prisoners floated home to every land"
broad hips clothed in a skirt
bright red stockings
soft new shoes with spurs
large hat as wide as a shield
gap toothed (sensual & assertive)
wore old-fashioned handerkerchiefs
"She was a good fellow"
skilled in weaving
took many pilgrimages
Married 5 times
loud, mouthy, full of advice
knew all about love
fiercely independent and domineering
Loved to be the center of show:
-first to give her offering
-wore "10 pounds of linen on her head"
Calls her a
Carried a staff
Faithfully preached gospel
Loved to teach his people
turn sinners to heaven
Not hypocritical - "of true consecration
"rich in holy thought and word"
"learned he was - in the truest sense a clerk"
kind & industrious
patient in adversity
generous (shared his little with others)
Content; not greedy
-no desire to go to London & get rich praying
for folks at St. Paul
-"a shepherd, not a mercenary"
Walked far and near to help his people
Lived what he taught:
"a model his flock could understand"
No respecter of persons - confronted sin in both
rich and poor
"If the gold rusts,
what will the iron do?
"If a priest is foul in whom we trust,
No wonder a layman shows a little rust>"
The Parson's brother
wore a course, rough coat
rode a mare
Traveled with the pastor
Hard worker - threshing, digging,
ditching up manure
A true Christian brother
Glad to help others (freely)
Loved God with whole heart
Loved neighbor as himself
Did all "for the sake of Christ"
Lived in peace and charity
"He was honest enough as millers come"
"a thick,squat-shouldered lump of sins" -
big beefy arms and thighs
Carried a shield and sword
Broad red beard
Large wide black nostrils
Big red wart with black hairs on his nose
Big mouth ("Like a great furnace")
Wore a white coat with a blue hood
Told ribald/uncouth ballads & jokes
"many rams for a prize"
Stole corn; overcharged his clients
Blew bagpipes - Led the pilgrims!
Ironic use of "golden thumb"
Appearance matches his uncouth
A country cheat!
Not a clue!
Buys and sells for a college of 30 lawyers
- and very good at it!
"Now isn't it an instance of God's grace"
Slender with long, lean legs
Close-shaven (no beard)
Short hair; tonsure like a priest
Rode a dappled-gray stallion - Scot
Wore a long blue coat,
hitched up and tied
Carried a RUSTY sword
Responsible oversight of his lord's land,
stock, funds, and laborers
Sole steward since the lord was 20
Carpenter by trade
Shrewd in aquisitions
(for self - even more than his lord!)
Feared by the laborers
Kept the books well (honestly?)
Fiery temper - feared him as
they feared the death!
"Could play the game with
auditors and win!"
Comes LAST in pilgrimage
Fiery red face, pocked & pimpled with
nobs and nubbins on his cheeks
Narrow eyes with thin brows
Scabby black beard
"His was a face that little children feared"
Huge garland on his head
Paid to summon sinners for trial
in the church court
Loved to drink
Spoke Latin when drunk
Job: summon violators of canon
law to ecclesiastical court
Seems to blackmail youths
With A sail,
And bones -
His conscience was plastic,
this noble ecclesiastic!
Highest Religious Priorities?
A Romantic Heroine:
-soft, small, red mouth
"She was not undergrown as all could see"
Carried: Rosary - coral with golden broach
"All things are subject unto love"
Sang the Mass - Gregorian Chants - nasally
NOTE: Nuns were forbidden to go on Pilgrimages
Other Interesting Tidbits:
Gentle speech: would not swear
Ate primly "from her lips no morsel ever fell"
More concerned with being a "lady" than with being a nun
Tenderhearted (mice & puppies)
(more concerned with animals than people)
Nuns were forbidden from having pets
A Monk Described:
- Lived in seclusion (monastery)
- worked, prayed, fasted, studied
-pale, thin, quiet, humble
Fat as a lord - tanned - shining face - big bright eyes (rolled)
Bald head - Sleeves trimmed with gray fur - gold pin fastened cloak
"A prelate to dream of while you slept!"
Loved to hunt
Didn't like to follow the rules of Benedict or Augustine
"I told him his opinion made me glad,
Why should he always study and go mad?"
stiff, wool cloak, not threadbare or shiny
white neck (but strong)
lisped (mark of sensuality)
1. Sold Indulgences
- listened to confessions
- gave easy forgiveness for $S$
- accepted $ or gifts from those who felt no repentance
-"the champion beggar of his neighborhood
2.. Loved to eat!
known by barmaids & innkeepers
3. Lecherous: loved women in every way
"many a girl was married by his doing"
Could talk a penniless woman out of her shoes
A Gallant Friar!!
"It mocks all decency, it sews no stitch
To deal with such riffraff but with the rich"
It was unbecoming
with the lepers to go slumming.
Stresses earthly values & pleasures
"He was St. Julian to the countryside"
"Who held the opinion that the only measure
of perfect happiness was simply pleasure"
He has the right values &
He pursues them honestly
He seems to do his job, but
his ethics are questionable!
(He is a lawyer!)
He's a nice guy, but not very hard-
working; shallow values
Good at being a pirate, but in
no way was he a Good Man!
Like the pirate, he is good at what
he does, but he is NOT good!
Clearly, Chaucer's IDEAL
One of the WORST commoners: notice
the huge contrast to the plowman!
He is a dishonest cheat!!!
Overseer of a Manor
He is selfish and dishonest
Strong Voice: for selling indulgences
for singing with Summoner
for preaching (for money)
Our Lady's veil (pillowcase)
Peter's sail (not)
Saints' bones (pig bones in a jar)
Yellow, straight hair
Disheveled "in the latest mode"
beardless (b/c he couldn't grow a beard!)
Commissioned by the church
to raise money for the hospital of the Blessed Mary
Appearance of Religion - but very self-serving
Will lie, flatter, deceive to get money
"His conscience was a little plastic" - flexible;
no strong morals; bends right and wrong
"So he sang out gaily with a full heart"
**He should sing with a heart full of praise
**He sang out just to get money
Chaucer's SAYS such company
is beneath the Friar...
The REALITY is that keeping such
company should have been the
primary purpose of the Friar!
social or economic opportunists
Illustrate the disintegrating effects of coveteousness on medieval society and are mostly condemned by their selfish values