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The Canterbury Tales
Transcript of The Canterbury Tales
By: Kenya Foster, Joesph Faulk, and Joshua Lewis
The Three Estates
Nobles provided work, land, and protection to the peasants while providing funding, supplies, and military service to the king.
Most people were peasants, and, under the feudal system of the era, were beholden to and in debt to the nobles for whom they worked. Nobles, on the other hand, had lives focused much more around military strategy, financial obligations and responsibilities, and social affairs.
It was common for aristocrats to enter the Church and thus shift from the second to the first.The sons of nobles could become knights.
Knights and Chivalry
to defend the weak
be courteous to all women
be loyal to their king
serve God at all times
be humble before others
give mercy to a vanquished enemy.
plundered villages or cities that they captured, often defiling and destroying churches and other property. were often brutal to common folk.
even rape young peasant women
Began to break down around the end of the middle ages. A mercantile class was developing as a new middle class, as well as a new subdivision of the clergy being intellectuals. Chaucer
"There was a Knight, a most distinguished man,
Who from the day on which he first began
To ride abroad had followed chivalry,
Truth, honor, generousness, and courtesy."
Reeve, who was a serf of a manor
"And he could judge by watching drought and rain
The yield he might expect from seed and grain.
His master’s sheep, his animals and hens,
Pigs, horses, dairies, stores, and cattle-pens
Were wholly trusted to his government.
He had been under contract to present
The accounts, right from his master’s earliest years."
Franklin, a well to do land-owner
"His bread, his ale were finest of the fine
And no one had a better stock of wine.
His house was never short of bake-meat pies,
Of fish and flesh, and these in such supplies
It positively snowed with meat and drink
And all the dainties that a man could think."
Women often classified by three separate estates: virgin, wife, and widow.
Women were born into estates, but could become nuns.
Women had fewer options than men as far as education and profession. They were often not paid as much as men for the same jobs.
In Canterbury Tales, there is a nun and a wife only.
not allowed to marry
without their parents' consent
could own no business with
not allowed to divorce their husbands
could not own property of any kind
unless they were widows
could not inherit land from
their parents' if they had
any surviving brothers
Royalty would wear bright, colorful, and vibrant clothing, full of shape and character.
Peasants had simple clothing, such as linen shirts, pants, and straw hats. Their clothes were always shapeless and colorless, brown or gray. Despite the fact that they were very poor, peasants always had a pair of nice clothes to wear to church every Sunday.
Married women and unmarried women had some differences in how they dressed. Married women would wear tight hats over a small bun, but unmarried women would wear their hair down or braided, covered with a veil.
"At meat her manners were well taught withal;
No morsel from her lips did she let fall,
Nor dipped her fingers in the sauce too deep;
But she could carry a morsel up and keep
The smallest drop from falling on her breast.
For courtliness she had a special zest,"
The wife of Bath, a middle class woman
"Her kerchiefs were of finely woven ground;
I dared have sworn they weighed a good ten pound,
The ones she wore on Sunday, on her head.
Her hose were of the finest scarlet red
And gartered tight; her shoes were soft and new.
Bold was her face, handsome, and red in hue.
A worthy woman all her life, what’s more
She’d had five husbands, all at the church door,"
-OE began to develop into Middle English
-After the French Invasion, French speakers were put at top of society
-French was dominant language for education and literature, along with Latin and Hebrew
-Peasants spoke Middle English and little of Latin
-Traders would know French and Latin
-In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer used:
-Iambic Pentameter- ten syllables, unstressed syllable followed by stressed
-Rime Royal or Chaucerian Stanza- seven line iambic pentameter stanza rhyming ababbcc
-Literacy increased in medieval Europe, especially among the urban populations who have time to read
-Most books were written in Latin, some in English, French, and German
-Warrior Heroism, Courtly Love, and Chivalry
-Canterbury made fun of the social classes
Visual and Musical Arts
-Support from religious and secular patrons
-Notre Dame in Paris
-Example: The Canterbury Cathedral and its stained glass windows
-Monophonic melodies- all notes are sung in unison
-Polyphonic- contains two or more simultaneaous lines of independent melodies
-Citole, Gittern, Harp, Lute, Monochord, Rebec, and Viol
-Knight practices chivalry
-Squire looks up to his father, who is the Knight
-Nun/Prioress immitates the upper class
-"Amor vincit omnia"- Latin for "Love conquers all"
-palfrey- OE for horse
-blancmange- French for "white food"
-"Questio quid juris"-"I ask what point of the law applies"
-"Evensong" is to evening as "matins" is to morning
Medieval European society dominated by Catholic Church
Provided individuals with spiritual guidance and functioned as the government
The Church saw itself as spirtual community of Christian believers
Pope was infalliable
Salvation through good works
Seven Sacrements: Baptism, Penance, Extreme Unction, Mass, Marriage, Confirmation, Holy Orders
Clergy served as outlets who would bestow God's grace
Structure of Clergy
Power in church was based on status
Head of Catholic Church
Geoffrey Chaucer and Religion
Chaucer seems to be ridiculing the Catholic Church in the Canterbury tales
Chaucer exemplfies the corruption of the Catholic Church through several characters.
"There’s no apostle I would counterfeit; I mean to have money, wool and cheese and wheat Though it were given me by the poorest lad Or poorest village widow, though she had A string of starving children, all agape" (Pardoner's Tale 25-29)
Three-Field Crop Rotation
Land was divided into three fields
In fall one field would be planted with wheat or rye
In spring a second field would be used growing beans, peas, legumes
Third field would lay fallow
Farmers would rotate fields each year
Suited for the heavy clay soil in Northern Europe
Consisted of a knife,plowshare with a moldboard
Caused yield to dramatically increase
Horse collar and Harness
Rested on horses shoulders and breast
No pressure was placed on the horse's neck since the traces are over the shoulders.
Allowed the horse to gain more power as opposed to previous harnesses
Horses now capable of working longer hours
Horses could work about twice as fast as oxen, but were more costly to feed
Weapons and Armor
Trebruchet operated like a giant slingshot
Manlet was a a giant shield soilders used tp protect themselves from incoming arows
Tortoise also protected soldiers from arrows. It had wheels and it was moved slowly.
The battering ram was used to break through castle walls and gates. It had a sharp metal tip.
The seige was a tall structure that reached to the top of the castle walls. It had a platform whuch allowed soldiers to reach the top of the walls,
Immorality of clergy
Many of the Clergy were uneducated
The sale of church positions - Simony
Sale of Indulgences
Bows and Arrows
Effective against cuts
Could still be penetrated by arrows
Soliders could still be brusied
Many people still used wooden shields
Metal shields were could be made
Protected against blows