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The Canterbury Tales

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Allan W

on 3 February 2014

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Transcript of The Canterbury Tales

Gigantic Test #2 - The Medieval Period

What you need to know

Pilgims/Prologues of the Canterbury Tales
The 7 sins and 4 temperaments
History of the medieval period (1066-1485)
Information on the stories
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
La morte d'Arthur
Ballads

The Canterbury Tales
The 7 sins & 4 temperaments
7 sins
Envy
Gluttony
Greed
Lust
Pride
Sloth
Wrath

Medieval History
Tales & Stories
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
La morte d'Arthur
The Pardoner's Tale

Ballads
What are they?
Story in verse - usually sung and accompanied by dance
Popular - arose in medieval age from traditions of common people
Cannot trace original author as it was an oral tradition
Features?
Anonymous authors - stories passed on by word of mouth
Narrative - stories from everyday life
Topics - disappointed love, jealousy, revenge, sudden disaster, adventures
Characterization - normally from a single incident
Dialogue - informal & natural
Language - generally direct and straightforward, though code is sometimes used

4 temperaments
Choleric
Melancholic
Phlegmatic
Sanguine

7 sins
Lust
Friar
Wife of Bath
Miller
Summoner
Greed
Monk
Friar
Merchant
Pardoner
Sergeant
Skipper
Doctor
Wife of Bath
Maniciple
Reeve
Summoner
Nun
Monk
Merchant
Sergeant
Guildsmen
Skipper
Bath
Miller
Summoner
Sloth
Sergeant
Franklin
Cook
Miller
Reeve
Summoner
Wrath
Skipper
Miller
Reeve
Summoner
Envy
Merchant
Wife of Bath
Reeve
Gluttony
Friar
Franklin
Guildsmen
Summoner
4 Temperaments
Pride
Phlegmatic
Knight
Yeoman
Nun
Doctor
Parson
Plowman
Melancholic
Cleric
Maniciple
Choleric
*Wife of Bath
Monk
Merchant
Guildsmen
Skipper
Miller
Reeve
Summoner
Sanguine
Squire
Friar
Sergeant
Franklin
Cook
*Wife of Bath
Pardoner
Blood - Head - Air
Extraverted - Emotionally Stable
Fundamentally impulsive and pleasure-seeking
Sociably
Emotional
Enjoy gatherings, making new friends
Creative
Often daydream
Sensitive
Compassionate
Thoughtful
Talkative
Engaging
Phlegm - Lungs - Water
Introverted - Emotionally Stable
Fundamentally relaxed & quiet
Warmly attentive to lazily sluggish
Content with themselves
Kind
Accepting
Affectionate
Receptive
Shy
Prefer stability
Consistent
Relaxed
Calm
Rational
Curious
Observant
Good adminstrators
Passive-aggressive
Black Bile - Spleen - Earth
Introverted - Emotional Unstable
Fundamentally introverted & thoughtful
Pondering
Considerate
Highly creative
Preoccupied with tragedy & cruelty
Often perfectionists
Self-reliant & independent
May forget to think of others
Yellow Bile - Gall Bladder - Fire
Extroverted - Emotionally Unstable
Fundamentally ambitious and leader-like
Aggressive
Energetic
Passionate
Tries to instill the above on others
Dominant (especially towards phlegmatics)
Contains many military & politcal figures
Like to be in charge of everything
The Knight
The Squire
The Yeoman
The Prioress (Nun)
The Monk
The Friar
The Merchant
The Oxford Cleric
The Sergeant at the Law (lawyer)
The Franklin (landowner)

The Harberdasher, Dyer, Carpenter, Weaver, Carpet Maker
The Cook
The Skipper
The Doctor
The Wife of Bath
The Parson
The Plowman
The Miller
The Manciple
The Reeve
The Summoner
The Pardoner

Character List
There is no point in me reposting the docx. Just view the pilgrim info here

http://goo.gl/0tWiqW

Prologue: http://goo.gl/FqBCbf
Tales: http://goo.gl/xJ7wqg

Ballad Characteristics
Ballad stanza - 4 line quatrains
8 syllables in 1st & 3rd lines
6 syllables in 2nd and 4th lines
Musical quality
Repetition
Meter usually iambic
http://iambicpentameter.net
Sir Patrick Spens
King calls skipper, Sir Patrick Spens, to sail his new ship. Spens sees the danger but obeys his order, laughing at his unfortunate fate. Needless to say, none of the people on board survived.
Two parts of voyage - initial excitement & mid way fear
Contrast - King has no worry, but Spens sees the true dangers
Loyalty - Spens takes on duty despite inevitable failure
Nature - new moon (line 25), storm
Fashion - cork heeled shoes (line 30), gold combs (line 38)
Sailing - feared at time (no GPS), unpredictable, dangerous
Social class - knight at king's knee (line 6), nobles > Spens
Predicting the future - harm (line 28)
Bonnie Barbara Allan
Sir John Graeme professes his love to Barbara, but is denied. He is sick with the lack of love, and tells others to be kind to Barbara as he passes away. Barbara then becomes a Juliet and prepares her own death to join her lover.
Barbara rejects John because he "slighted" (line 20)
John "drank his health away" to other women
John's dying wish that Barbara is treated with kindness shows his undying love for her. As he was not able to care for her, he asks the world to take on that role.
Barbara's wish that her mother prepares her deathbed shows that she actually loves John.
Get Up and Bar the Door
A bickering couple decided to end their dispute by making a bet. They would stop talking, and the first person who says a word needs to go and bar the door. Two men then come in their house, and eat their pudding. The husband is angry and scolds the intruders, but the wife only laughs and tells him to bar the door.
Norman Conquest
1066

Battle of Hastings

Harold
(king of England) defeated by
William “the Conqueror”
(Duke of Normandy)
Full-fledged battle -> seizure of property – martial laws – government set up
William was a powerful soldier with great
authority
-> conquered the whole country
Reigned for
21 years
Normans (derived from “Northman”) – descended from Vikings from northwestern France (
Normandy
)
Spent more than a
hundred years
in France
Adopted French customs and own language, Norman-French
Good soldiers, administrators, lawyers, and adapters but did not have original ideas (architecture created in England actually originated in northern Italy)
Norman conquerors “civilized” Anglo-Saxons, but Anglo-Saxons were more advanced in government systems
Land and Feudal System
Anglo-Saxon landowners wiped out by invasion -> William had
lots of land
William granted land to those who fought
faithfully
Believed land was his by right of conquest
Introduced feudal system
No one owned land independently, but rather as vassal of overlord
Overlords owe allegiance to noble or king
System was chain of loyalties, workers pay rent, mostly as military service
William gave Anglo-Saxon estates with vague boundaries -> resulted in many
disputes
1086
– William created inventory of all property in the
Domesday Book
(Doomsday), book of judgement  listed all landowners & boundaries
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
– written by monk hostile to William – showed extensiveness of book of judgement

The Medieval Church
11th – 15th century
-> Western Europe had
common
culture & set of beliefs
Medieval Church greatly promoted
unity
Crossed boundaries & difference in language
Church’s language
became language of all people
In turn, all kingdoms and people were sons & daughters of Church
Church was
dominant
source of teaching, writing, translating, preserving culture
Abbeys & monasteries -> main centers of learning
Also had big
farms
-> handicraft was taught/practiced

Medieval Life
People worked in fields of lords and owed allegiance to them
Farming later became less important than
herding
English wool better
than that of other places
More people became involved in wool industry
Cottages -> small mills
Common people now paid in
wages
rather than farm labor
Wool exportation encouraged growth in
northern
cities
New class of merchants emerged – many became rich, achieving even nobility
Class away from French court -> developed native literature
First guild’s formed by merchants, then cottage workers
Population grew ->
more English cathedrals –
Winchester, Lincoln, Salisbury, Durham
Austere life
Dangerous/difficult travel
Little variety in food (even for rich) – could not be refrigerated
Relieved by religious festivals & bright clothing

English Law
Common law
– law for whole country & its people – based on customs, not legal statuses
Law of primogeniture – firstborn son has exclusive rights of inheritance
1215

Pope Innocent III
declared ordeal as “irrational” and replaced it
without Church’s sanction
1215

King John
(
1199 – 1216
) forced to sign
Magna Carta
(Great Charter)
Gave right of trial by jury – start of government in Parliament

William ruled over England/Normandy -> most powerful force in Europe
His descendants increased land through
marriage and conquest
Norman kings of England fought for French territories across English Channel
Normans & Anglo-Saxon
elements created English characters
Anglo-Saxons adapted to Norman ways after losing their rulers
The two began working together ->
Thomas à Becket
– Henry II’s Lord Chancellor –
Archbishop of Canterbury
Once Becket was Archbishop, he went
against
the king and defended the Church -> later murdered by
Henry’s knights
-> became
saint and hero of the people

What year was the battle of Hastings?
Who is Harold?
Who is William? What was his nickname?
How many years did William reign?
Where did the Normans come from?
How did William expand his empire?
Which two elements created English characters?
Who is Thomas à Becket? What did he do? What happened?
Who introduced the feudal system? What is it?
What did William give to Anglo-Saxon estates? What was the reaction?
What is the Doomsday Book? When was it created? Who created it?
What is the Anglo-Saxon chronicle?
What effect did the Church have towards the people?
What happened after people started to make wool?
Name four English Cathedrals.
Why was life austere?
The Crusades
King Richard
“the Lion-Hearted”
1095
– first Crusade – by
Pope Urban II
1191, 1202, 1217, 1270 – other crusades
Began with desire to rescue Jerusalem from Turks
Gained much knowledge from expeditions to East (math/medicine)
Encouraged
chivalry
(joined with idea of
romance
)

The Hundred Years' War
250
years for Normans & Saxons to merge into English nation
1337 – 1453

Hundred Years’ War
– England vs France
England had many victories due to longbows (since time of
Edward I
, 1272 – 1307)
Six-foot in length;
longbows + gunpowder
essentially ended Middle Ages

The War of the Roses
1348

Black Death
in England – killed
33%
+ of population
1381
– peasants revolted – encouraged by John Wycliffe
1455 – 1485
– Wars of the Roses
House of York
(white rose) vs
House of Lancaster

(red rose)
1485

Henry VII
succeeded Richard III – ended feud through marriage
Founded Tudor line – Middle Ages ended

Medieval Literature
Romance
– favored Anglo-Norman literature
Chivalry, love, wonders, fairy, giants, wizards, sorceresses
Romantic concept came from
France
King Arthur
and Knights of Round Table were retold by
Sir Thomas Malory
in Morte Darthur
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is also about King Arthur
Autobiography, travel, writing, devotional writing
The Book of Margery Kempe – Julian of Norwich & Margery Kempe – 1st autobiography

Geoffrey Chaucer
1340? - 1400
Somewhat skeptical to romance
First of the “poker-faced humorists”
Greatest work belongs to poetic & humorous realism

Folk Poetry and Drama
Mid 18th century – folk poetry collected and published – German poet Herder
Drama was popular in Elizabethan Age
Miracle plays
– Biblical stories performed on platforms
Wicked characters were comical
End of Middle Ages (troubled times) – miracle plays change to morality plays
Morality plays
– represent virtue – famous morality play: Everyman
High Middle Ages – Gothic cathedrals – knights, squires, pages, crusaders, monks, scholars

Important years: 1066, 1086, 1215, 1095, 1337, 1340, 1348, 1381, 1400, 1453, 1455, 1485

Important names: Hastings, Harold, William, Thomas à Becket, Henry, Innocent, John, Urban

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
As the day approaches, Gawain rides off to Camelot. He is warmly greeted by the lord, goes hunting with him, and meets the lord's wife, who attempts to seduce him. They exchange some kisses, and in the end, Gawain receives a green magic girdle that is said to protect its owner from all harm. Gawain then leaves to meet the green knight.
***Extremely concise summary***
Wearing the girdle, Gawain meets the green knight, who gives a blow to his head. Gawain is unharmed, and the unsurprised knight reveals that he was the lord of the castle, and that Gawain had failed his test as he was with the lady and got the girdle. Ashamed, Gawain took off his girdle and asked for another blow.
The green knight then laughs as Gawain's faith is restored. He lets Gawain keep the girdle as a token (and a reminder) and tells him to celebrate the New Year.
Sir Gawain, the best of knights, is greeted by a green knight who offers a challenge. Gawain is allowed to give one chop of the head if he promises to receive on a year and a day later. Gawain agrees, and chops off the green knight's head. However, he just picks it up and rides off.
La morte d'Arthur
Sure enough Griflet loses to Pellinore and is seriously wounded. But he is cured by a doctor. Then Arthur decides to go confront this knight on his own. Arthur was a skilled knight, so in the first two jousts they have, they tie. However, during the third one, Arthur falls off the horse. He lost his honour on horse, so he challenges Pellinore to battle on the ground. Again, he loses, as his sword snaps.

Pellinore forces him to confess that he is defeated and a coward, or else he’ll kill him. But Arthur keeps on going at it, tearing the knights shirt and throwing him to the ground. Again Pellinore, who is stronger, is about to kill him, as Merlin, a magician, comes to rescue him. With enchantment, he puts Pellinore to sleep, and they walk away.
Arthur is without sword. They go to the Lady of the Lake to get the sword Excalibu. The sheath is magical; with its presence, he will never lose blood nor sore wounded. They go back to kingdom


One day a knight was wounded to the death after confronting Pellinore, one of the strongest knights existent. They looked for people to avenge, and Griflet, who is a young squire, decides to go. At first, they didn’t let him because he was too young and there is a good chance that he will die. But King Arthur, who was as young as him, decided to appoint him as a knight and sent him to Pellinore.

The Pardoner's Tale
The rioters go past an oak tree and see a pile of treasure. Delighted, they decided to take it before anyone else finds out. However, they did not want to be caught as thieves, so they decided to wait and celebrat first. They agree on letting the youngest of the three go back to the tavern to bread and wine while the other two stand guard beside the treasure.
When the youngest one got to the tavern, he decided to poison two of the three wines so that the others would die and he could have all the treasure himself. The two men on guard also decided to kill the young one so they could have a greater share of the treasure.
Needless to say, the young one was killed once he got back. The two remaining men celebrated with wine, and died as well.
Three rioters are sitting in a tavern, and talk about Death, the horrible killer of men. They decide to confront death and kill it themselves. They are on their way when they come across an old wise fellow. The rioters ask why he had not succumbed to the Death, and the man says that he had walked long distances but was still not able to enter the grounds below. Rudely, the rioters then ask the man to direct them to death, or they will kill him. The wise man cautions them against it, but shows them the direction to go.
The Knight
Noble/upper class
- fights battles to protect lower class people
Embodies code of chivalry, is an
ideal
knight
Motive
- just finished a battle and wanted to
give thanks
for victory
Tarnished battle armor
(showing participation in combat)
"Bearings as modest as a maid"
Kind
,
modest
,
devoted
to god, treats all with
respect
Chaucer
admired
the Knight
"A true perfect gentle knight", "Even honored for his noble graces"
The Squire
Knight in training
Upper class
Sings, jousts, dances, sketches, writes
Motive -
Thomas a Becket
Courteous, chivalrous
Overly flirtatious
Handsome, modest, courteous, short gown, long sleeves
Chaucer had a
positive
view, squire
acts as he should
The Yeoman
Independent farmer fighting in wars
Low, peasant class
Protects travelers
Is like Robin Hood
Tanned face, carries bow and arrow, "hood of green", "sheaf of peacock arrows..."
Chaucer has good sentiments towards yeoman;
pilgrim acts as he should
The Prioress (Nun)
Middle class
, head of Priory and nuns
Well respected
due to connections with the church
Compassionate, dignified, concerned with manners, courtly, pleasant, friendly
Motive
- supposedly to serve God, but in reality to
increase her social status
Empathetic, charitable (especially
towards animals
Obsessed with own appearance,
clothing, and mannerisms
Breaks vows of modesty, poverty, simplicity
Imitates upper-class behaviours
Has refined table manners
Feeds dogs meat and fine white bread instead of feeding the poor
Speaks in
French
to seem educated
Wears
coral trinket
and a
"golden brooch of brightest sheen" (158)
Engraved on broach "love conquers all" in Latin
Earthly love, breaks vow as nun
Could also mean love of God
Elegant nose, glass-grey eyes
Small mouth, but soft and red
"her forehead, certainly, was fair of spread/almost a span across the brows, I own" (150)
Chaucer shows Prioress'
hypocrisy
as nun
Compassionate & benevolent, yet
counterfeit
Does not act as she should
"Pleasant and friendly in her ways, and straining to counterfeit a courtly kind of grace
The Monk
Devotes life to Church under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
Clergy class
Passionate
Rebellious
against Church laws
Likes to
hunt
and
ride
Extravagant clothing
Bald, head "shone like looking-glass"
Greasy face
Does
not
act as he should
The Friar
Honored lower class
Ideal: life of poverty/devotion to God, power to forgive sins when people repent
Canterbury pilgrim:
greedy, hangs out with wealthy, manipulative, hypocritical
Motive: money
- devoted pilgrims tend to give friars more money
Party-pleaser, "
nice kind, friendly, sociable
" in appearance
Morally corrupt, vain, liar, adulterous
Greedy for money
- forgives sins by payment
"He was every prompt to arbitrate disputes on settling days (for a small fee) in many helpful ways"
Friar clearly does not act like he should
The Merchant
Rising middle class/in debt
Pretends to be wealthy
Dishonest
(not fair with business)
Lust
for money
Fashionable clothing: forked beard, colorful gown, flemish beaver hat, boots, sits high on horse
"There was a Merchant with a forking beard
And motley dress: high on his horse he sat
Upon his head a Flemish beaver hat
And on his feet daintily buckled boots"
Arrogant & unremarkable
"He was an excellent fellow all the same;/To tell the truth I do not know his name"
Does
not
act like he should, tries to act more wealthy than he really is
The Oxford Cleric
Low social status (oxford student)
Value: philosophy books and education, knowledge, joy of teaching others
Motive: better connections with god to gather more knowledge
Appreciative of other's help
Willing to share knowledge
Uncorrupted
Poorly dressed: hollow look, bare overlook, thin horse, sober stare
"His horse was thinner than a rake,
And he was not too fat, I undertake,
But had a hollow look, a sober stare;
The thread upon his overcoat was bare
Respectful, uncorrupted, genuine
"and gladly would he learn, and gladly teach"
"He preferred having twenty books in red
And black, of Aristotle's philosophy
Than costly clothes, fiddle, or psaltery "
The Sergeant at the Law
Lawyer
Middle class
Skilled at his job
Lazy
; pretends to be busy
Wealthy, intelligent, determined
"wore a homely parti-coloured coat/girt with a silken belt of pin-stripe stuff"
White beard
Wise & discreet
in his working
Rewarded himself for a job well done
The Franklin
Gentry Landowner
Class before the nobility
Farm owner
Advisor at parliamentary sessions
Tax, Sheriff, Knight of the Shire
Takes pleasure in
eating
and
drinking
, and in
providing pleasure
to others through generous entertaining
Known as Saint Julian, patron of hospitality
Ideal host
"Son to Epicures"
- greek philosopher who believed that the best way to live life is to seek pleasure
Happy with
demanding lifestyle and powerful place in society
Motive - won't be many pilgrimages left
Wants to seize the opportunity
Repent his sins (drinking, living always for pleasure)
Leave this earth in clean spirit
Start to live a more virtuous life
Very generous
Lives simple life
Organized
Well rounded
Social class is very important to him
Nitpicky
Demanding
Unmarried
Has white beard (is an aged man)
Face always red from drinking
Highly respected by people in the county
Lived in luxury, big eater
Described as Epicurus
Compared to St. Julian
"White was his beard as is the white daisy." (336)
"A sanguine man, high-coloured and benign." (line 337)
Chaucer does not think highly of the Franklin
"worthy sub-vassal"
Hypocritical by his own flaws
Incredibly demanding
Everything must be perfect
Lack of recognition in the flaws of the characters in his tale
Prioritizes social class
Unmarried (oblivious to honor and trust in marriage)
"He lived for pleasure and had always done, or hie was Epricurus' very son, in whose opinion sensual delight" (339)
"His house was never short of bake-meat pies/It positively snowed with meat and drink and all the dainties that a man could think" (347)
"As notes as St. Julian was for bounty he made his household free to all the County." (343)
The Harberdasher, Dyer, Carpenter, Weaver, Carpet Maker
Guildsmen of similar trades. Merchants/Aritisans
Middle/High class
Proud, intelligent, honest, skilled values reputation
Unspecified motive - reputation?
Prideful - self importance, obsession with self image
Wives are materialistic
Known to not "trick out their knives with brass"
(honesty in selling crafts),
wears their own crafts on themselves
Mid 40s, businessmen like, intelligent/smart, strong
Chaucer finds them proud and self obsessed, but genuine in their craftsmanship
"Their wisdom would have justified a plan
To make each one of them an alderman;
They had the capital and revenue,
Besides their wives declared it was their due"
Pilgrims act like they should
The Cook
Low class cook
Unspecified motive - healing of the
sore/infection on his knee?
Excellent culinary skills
Poor hygiene
Open sore on knee, rest unspecified
Chaucer is sympathetic for the fact
that even though he cooks so well,
no one wants to eat it
"That on his shin a deadly sore had he;
For sweet blanc-mange he made it with the best
Pilgrim acts as he should
The Skipper
Shipman/sailor
Middle/Low class
,
selfish, values money, lacks morality
Unspecified motive
Greed
- steals wine from sleeping merchant
Wrath
- kills his opponents
Dagger hanging on shirt
Woolen robe
Tanned
Violence
towards opponents met during travels
Travels
much
Skilled
with celestial navigation
Talented
shipman
Chaucer admires skipper's skills, but acknowledges the skipper's faults in lack of morality
"As for his skill in reckoning his tides
Currents, and many another risk besides
Moons, harbors, pilots, he had such dispatch
That none from Hull to Carthage was his match"
Pilgrim
acts as he should
The Doctor
Clearly known as healer of the pilgrim group
Skilled and practiced physician who maintains everyone's health
Knows his profession well
Has vast knowledge of astronomy, horoscopes, and "images" to diagnose patient's illnesses
Motive - not religious
May seek "cloths soaked in Becket's blood", which has healing powers
Interested in getting profit from ill-struck pilgrims
Able to recognize all aspects of patients in order to "cure" their conditions
Very knowledgeable
Undoubtedly greedy
Cheats his patients
Good at physical/manual part of job, but lacks morality behind it
Worked hard for positions, though for bad motives (for riches, not truly to heal)
Buys little food to have more money ->
would probably not put much effort in quality of clothing
Chaucer admires doctors ability
and only hints at his bad morals (does not hold any particular dislike)
"[the Doctor] did not read the bible... [and] was rather close to his expenses and kept the gold he won in pestilences."
"the cause of every malady you'd got, he knew, and whether dry, cold, moist, or hot"
Doctor acts as he should physically but lacks morality
The Wife of Bath
Upper middle class yet somewhat lowered because she is a woman
...she is a hoe
Needs control over everything and everyone
Strict and very respected amongst peers in Bath
Motive - husband #6, adventures
Strong, independent, adventurous, giving, loud, firm
Vanity - need for control, desire for lust, rude, inflexible in ideas
Physical - bright red dress and Sunday hat
(expensive, but she can afford them because she is an excellent weaver and makes her own clothes)
Had 5 husbands and many other companies in youth
Goes on journey with only men (and nuns)
"Bold was her face, handsome, and red in hue"
Chaucer did not have good opinion - thinks wife is self-centered; sees her promiscuity; insults her reasons for being in the pilgrimage
Does not act as she should - wives were supposed to be quiet and agreeing, yet Wife of Bath is the opposite
The Parson
Educated man/clerk who teaches/delivers God's word to parishioners
Lower class - priests generally don't have a lot of income
"He sought no pomp or glory in his dealings" (521)
Non-materialistic
"Sufficiency in little things" (488)
Does not value wealth and does not pursue it
Demonstrates generosity and gives to others despite his own misery
Patient and perseverance
"Prove in great adversity"
Motive - to be spiritually healed and free from his sins
Humble and dedicated
Shows great leadership

"...first follow[s] the word [from the gospel] before he taught it"
Most likely resembles a sheperd
Simple modest robe, "stave"
Chaucer seems to be amazed at pilgrim's moral strengths
"He thinks there never was a better priest" (520)
"That if gold rust, what then will iron do?" (498)
Analogy of priest vs commoners
Priest must be a trusted figure, or else common people will be even worse
Parson acts as he should
The Plowman
Works in agriculture
Peasant - good citizen
Lower class
Enjoys helping other Christians and has strong societal connections
Motive - honor Thomas a Becket
Values compassion, kindness, generosity, gives money to church
Not very generous to those who don't believe in Jesus
Tabard smock and rode a mare
Chaucer believed plowman was charitable, faithful, and hardworking
"And as the gospel bade him, so did he, loving God best with all his heart and mind"
Plowman acts as he should
The Miller
Lower class
Uneducated
Big and strong, with a red beard, and a wart on his nose with a tuft of hair growing on it
Could break any doors open with his head and always wins the wrestling matches
Chaucer has negative opinion on miller
Uneducated, impolite,disgusting, "wrangler", "buffoon"
"His mighty mouth was like a furnace door.
A wrangler and buffoon, he had a store
Of tavern stories, filthy in the main.
His was a master-hand at stealing grain."

Pilgrim did not act as he should
The Manciple
Middle class
Works at inner temple (law school), in charge of purchasing foods
"Good" at his job, but actually steals from his masters
Motive not specified
To find valuable items to sell for money?
Intelligent
Cheats on masters (sneaky)
Well-off
Street smart
Curly hair, blue cloak, neat
Chaucer: dishonest, untrustworthy, unethical, quick-witted
"Now isn't it a marvel of god's grace
That an illiterate fellow can outpace
The wisdom of a heap of learned men?" (577-579)
Satirical - he appears to be so good at his job that it is impossible

Manciple does not act like he should
The Reeve
High social and economic class
Used to be a middle-class carpenter
but became very rich and strict
High-class lifestyle
Manged money and stayed secure
Values money and status
Short patience, choleric
Motive - have good time, socialize
Stubborn, ill-tempered
Focus is put on wrong morals
Over protective; blade slung at his
side
Old, dirty, sudden outbursts of anger
No care for looks, "no calves could be seen"
"Beard shaven closely to the skin/his shorn hair came abruptly to a stop/above his ears"
Chaucer did not think highly of the reeve
No realistic or ethical values
Snappy and high-strung
"old, choleric, and thin"
"He was feared like the plague"
Credited as a good manager
"No auditor could gain a point on him" (598)
Could judge by
"watching drought and rain"
Does not act as he should
Supposed to be a trustworthy manager
Only a good manager, not trustworthy
The Summoner
Man hired by church to bring sinners to court
Lower class
Values self satisfaction over hygiene
"garlic he loved, and onions too, and leeks" (638)
Nonchalant and empty-minded
Values money over morality, susceptible to bribes
Cunning and dishonest
Chaucer mentions no moral strengths
Greed, gluttony, sloth
Extreme case of carbuncles
Narrow eyes
Scabby brows
Thin beard
Face that scares children
Chaucer thinks he is hypocritical
"Why he'd allow for just a quart of wine any good lad to keep a concubine a twelve pence and dispense him all together!"
Shows corruption and disregard
Summoner does not act like he should
The Pardoner
Middle class
Member of the church
Only values money and
wealthy items
Selfish
Sociable
Vain - cares about appearance
Greedy for money - sells fake pardons/relics
Motive - money, profit
Good communication skills, story telling
Pride, greed
Long, yellow hair
No hood on head, wears small cap with holy relic
Big bulging eyes
Spends wealth on clothing
Smooth chin, no beard
Small voice
Well educated, diligent
Rides with Summoner
Chaucer does not have positive impression
Places introduction last
Does not approve of his sales
Questions authenticity of relics
"But best of all he sang an Offertory,
For well he knew that when that song was sung
He'd have to preach and tune his honey-tongue
And (well he could) win silver from the crowd
That's why he sang so merrily and loud." (697-701)
Full transcript