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The Canterbury Tales

The Prologue concerning the introduction on the Skipper, the doctor, the Wife of Bath, the Parson, the Plowman, the Miller, the Pardoner, and the Host
by

Tess McCabe

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of The Canterbury Tales

Introducing:
the Skipper, the Doctor, the Wife of Bath, the Parson, the Plowman, the Miller, the Pardoner, and the Host Analysis Indirect Characterization Direct
Characterization The Canterbury Tales The Skipper -
Direct Characterization - From the far west
- Tanned and a good sailor
- Has a ship named Madeline The Doctor - Direct Characterization - Eats healthy foods (takes care of his body)
- Loves money - keeps a vial full of gold
- Is very good at his practice:
"He knew the cause of every malady,
Were it of hot or cold, of moist or dry,
And where engendered, and of what humour;
He was a very good practitioner." The Wife of Bath -
Direct Characterization - Deaf in one ear
- Has had five husbands
- Is an old hand at pilgrimages
- Gap-toothed
- Large:
"A rug was tucked around her buttocks large,
And on her feet a pair of sharpened spurs."
- Good at making cloth The Parson -
Direct Characterization - A holy man “of good renown”
- Educated and preaches to parishioners The Plowman -
Direct Characterization - The Parson's brother
- Helps the poor and pays his tithes to the church The Miller - Direct Characterization - Short and strong:
“He would boast. He could heave any door off hinge and post.”
- Broad shouldered and brawny
- Able to judge quality of grains with just a touch The Pardoner -
Direct Characterization - Long yellow hair, no beard
- High voice
- Manipulates the poor for his own benefit
- Has a cross with him
- Cheats people through arguing
- Good story teller, preacher, and singer The Host - Direct Characterization - Easy-going man:
“What’s more he was a merry-hearted man.”
- Agrees to be the guide for the rest of the trip
- Is governor, judge, and record keeper for the trip
- Sets up the story telling order The Skipper - Indirect Characterization - Identified as not altogether a trustworthy character
- He has a drinking habit and a temper, and is not merciful in battle:
“The nicer rules of conscience he ignored…
he sent the prisoners home; they walked the plank.” The Parson - Indirect Characterization - Identified as a person of strong morals; goes out of his way to do good deeds; he is “rich in holy thought and work.”
- He is also said to be tolerant and always willing to go out of his way to help those in need, even if they are lower in status than he is.
- "The true example a priest could live.” The Wife of Bath - Indirect Characterization - Worldly in both senses: she has both seen the world and has experience in it
- Clothes are extravagant to show how much wealth she has
- Loves talking, especially arguing The Doctor - Indirect Characterization - Greedy; carries around a vial of gold for himself, not for medical uses for his patients
- Crafty; he has worked out a deal with his friend at the apothecary which benefits them both financially The Plowman - Indirect Characterization - Dedicated to his job and is willing to do what he must for the betterment of the community and to help others
- Is “an honest worker, good and true.”
- Accepting of his duties, although they may be undesirable:
“Many a load of dung one time or another he must have carted.” The Miller - Indirect Characterization - Talkative but has a big mouth, both literally and figuratively
- Interrupts stories and talks out of place
- He enjoys telling dirty stories and jokes The Pardoner - Indirect Characterization - Extremely hypocritical: he pretends to be pious but he's corrupt
- Most churches and church going people hate him because he cheats people
- He also questions his masculinity:
“I judge he was a gelding, or a mare.” The Host - Indirect Characterization - Good with money and doing business
- He gets the group's money then makes them forget what the spent.
- Organized
- He is best suited to be the leader:
“And fit to be a marshal in a hall.” The Skipper - Context - Sailors were important during the time because ships were a common means of transportation, both of goods and of people. They had to be quick to respond to the problems they faced out on the sea and unafraid of opponents.
- In the story, he’s identified as an unreliable character, with questionable morals; while we don’t really have this stereotypical sailor anymore, we still know people who make quick decisions based on their short tempers. Who or what would be an example of a ‘Skipper’-like figure today? The Doctor - Context - Well-rounded; he relies on astronomy as well as "modern" medicines to cure his patients
- Pursues knowledge for financial gain, not for the sake of knowledge itself What does this remind you of? The Wife of Bath -Identifies The Wife of Bath - Context - Personifies Chaucer's idea of what a lustful woman looks like
- Fun-loving but prideful
- Widowed? She has the freedom to run her own business and travel, so her husband must not mind or know about it.
- Or he's dead The Parson - Context - During this time, priests like the Parson often acted not just as spiritual aid, but also as a comforting friend, a volunteer to help the poor, and sometimes even as a doctor
- Unlike the Skipper, the Parson is identified as a reliable character with strong morals
- In today’s society we are less community-based, and priests generally focus more on their parish than the community as a whole; however, they still are expected to be virtuous and examples of a positive helping force The Plowman - Context - The Plowman is immediately grouped with his brother, the Parson.
- Like the Parson, the Plowman is described as a helpful member of the community with a strong moral code and a sense of duty.
- Plowing was a hard job, one that was physically exhausting because it was work out in the fields.
- However, it was an extremely necessary job that allowed crops to be planted.
- A modern day example of the Plowman would be people whose jobs might be considered “undesirable” but which are still extremely necessary, such as a garbage man or a janitor. Why is it that Chaucer seems to separate his characters into the categories of “good” and “bad?” The Miller The Miller - Context - Portrayed very negatively
- Written abiding to the stereotype that commoners were disgusting
- Dishonest to his customers
- Highly physical description implies that he's "all brawn and no brains" The Pardoner - Context - Sketchy - Sells fake relics to people
- Doesn't practice what he preaches
- Obsessed with money The Host - Context - Tries to play the peace-keeper role
- Insightful
- Is the reader's insider on the events of the story
- Very emotional about the stories told By John, Mary, and Tess The Prologue:
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