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From The Prologue From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Janae Allen

on 27 November 2012

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Transcript of From The Prologue From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Here are the first 12 lines of The Prologue. After reading the quote below, tell me what you think the narrator intends to do? Can anyone paraphrase the first 12 lines that introduces the subject? The Knight was a most distinguished man, who from the day on which he first began to ride abroad had followed chilvary, truth, honor, generousness, and courtesy. He had nobly in his monarch's war ridden into battle, no man more, as well in Christian as in pagan places, and ever honored for his noble graces. The narrator intends to describe "some nine and twenty in a company" to us, the audience, before he tells us the story and that he will start by describing the Knight. After reading the following quote, what qualities do you think that the speaker admires in the Knight? "He had his son with him, a fine young Squire, a lover and cadet, a lad of fire with locks as curly as if they had been pressed. He was some twenty years of age, I guessed. In stature he was of a moderate length, with wonderful agility and strength." The narrator begins his character portraits with the Knight. In the narrator’s eyes, the Knight is the noblest of the pilgrims, embodying military prowess, loyalty, honor, generosity, and good manners. The Knight conducts himself in a polite and mild fashion, never saying an unkind word about anyone. From the two quotes below tell me how does the Squire’s character differ from that of the Knight? "There was a Yeoman with him at his side, no other servant; so he chose to ride. This Yeoman wore a coat and hood of green, and a peacock- feathered arrows, bright and keen and neatly sheathed, hung at his belt the while --For he could dress his gear in yeoman style, his arrows never dropped their feathers low-- And in his hand he bore a mighty bow. His head like a nut, his face was brown. He knew the whole of woodcraft up and down. A saucy brace was on his arm to ward it from the bow-string, and a sheild and sword hung at one side, and at the other slipped a jaunty dirk, spear-sharp and well-equipped. A medal of St. Christopher he wore of shining silver on his breast, and bore a hunting-horn, well slung and burnished clean, that dangled from a baldrick of bright green." Though the Squire has fought in battles with great strength and agility, like his father, he is also devoted to love. "There also was a Nun, a Prioress, her way of smiling very simple and coy. Her greatest oath was only 'By St. Loy!' And she was known as Madam Eglantyne." Does the Prioress conform to your conception of a high-ranking member of the church? Explain. “For courtliness she had a special zest, and she would wipe her upper lip so clean that not a trace of grease was to be seen upon the cup when she had drunk; to eat, she reached a hand sedately for the meat. She certainly was very entertaining, pleasant and friendly in her ways, and straining to counterfeit a courtly kind of grace, a stately bearing fitting to her place, and to seem dignified in all her dealings.” Now for a presentation on the first 395 lines of “And though so much distinguished, he was wise and in his bearing modest as a maid. He never yet a boorish thing had said in all his life to any, come what might; he was a true, a perfect gentle-knight.” The narrator opens The Prologue by describing the return of spring. He describes the April showers, the germinal flowers and leaves, and the singing birds. Around the springtime, the narrator says, people begin to feel the urge to go on a pilgrimage. Many devout English pilgrims depart to visit shrines in distant holy lands, but even more choose to travel to Canterbury to visit the relics of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, where they give thanks to the martyr for helping them when they were in need. Who was the Knight? What do you think the narrator thinks of the Yeoman? "He was a proper forester, I guess." is what the narrator thinks the Yeoman was. His gear and attire suggest that he is a forester. A Prioress is the nun ranking next below the head nun in an abbey. St. Loy is St. Eligius, a patron saint of goldsmiths and jewelers, known for his good looks and sumptuous attire. Well!
Does she? After reading the quote below, what is your opinion of the Prioress's "charity" toward animals ? Explain. “As for her sympathies and tender feelings, she was so charitably solicitous she used to weep if she but saw a mouse caught in a trap, if it were dead or bleeding. And she had little dogs she would be feeding with roasted flesh, or milk, or fine white bread.” Anybody want to elaborate? Who is Madam Eglantyne? Madam Eglantyne is the Prioress. Who was with the Prioress according to the following quote? "Another Nun, the secretary at her cell, was riding with her, and three Priests as well." There was another Nun and three priests with the Prioress. Paraphrase the Monk’s philosophy of life. “Supple his boots, his horse in fine condition. He was a prelate fit for exhibition, he was not pale like a tormented soul. He liked a fat swan best, and roasted whole. His palfrey was as brown as is a berry.” Anybody have any comments or questions so far? The next member of the company is the Friar—a member of a religious order who lives entirely by begging. This friar is jovial, pleasure-loving, well-spoken, and socially agreeable. He hears confessions, and assigns very easy penance to people who donate money. For this reason, he is very popular with wealthy landowners throughout the country. He justifies his leniency by arguing that donating money to friars is a sign of true repentance, even if the penitent is incapable of shedding tears. He also makes himself popular with innkeepers and barmaids, who can give him food and drink. He pays no attention to beggars and lepers because they can’t help him or his fraternal order. Despite his vow of poverty, the donations he extracts allow him to dress richly and live quite merrily. How does the Friar represent the corruption in the medieval church? “Highly beloved and intimate was he with County folk within his boundary, and city dames of honor and possessions; for he was qualified to hear confessions,or so he said, with more than priestly scope; he had a special license from the Pope. Sweetly he heard his penitents at shriftwith pleasant absolution, for a gift.He was an easy man in penance-giving where he could hope to make a decent living;it’s a sure sign whenever gifts are given to a poor Order that a man’s well shriven,and should he give enough he knew in verity the penitent repented in sincerity.” How does the Friar misuse his position and power within the church? Any thoughts? “He knew the taverns well in every town and every innkeeper and barmaid too better than lepers, beggars and that crew, for in so eminent a man as he it was not fitting with dignity of his position, dealing with a scum of wretched lepers; nothing good can come of commerce with such slum-and-gutter dwellers, but only with the rich and victual-sellers. But anywhere a profit might accrue courteous he was and lowly of service too. Natural gifts like his were hard to match.” "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." After reading the above quote, what do you think of the Merchant? How is the Merchant characterized as a hypocrite? “This estimable Merchant so had set his wits to work, none knew he was in debt, he was so stately in administration, in loans and bargains and negotiation.” I believe that the Merchant was a big spender. What about you? What do you think? "An Oxford Cleric, still a student though, was there; 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 over coat was bare. He had found no preferment in the church and he was too unwordly to make search for secular employment. By his bed he preferred having twenty books in red and black, of Aristotle's philosophy, than costly clothes, fiddle or psaltery." What do you think of the Oxford Cleric? I think that the Oxford Cleric is a very studious person, who's always out to learn more no matter the cost. I also believe that he is malnourished because of his need to learn and I also believe he was extremely poor for the same reason. How does the character of the Cleric contrast with that of the Friar? "Speaking of his equipment, he possessed fine horses, but he was not gaily dressed. He wore a fustian tunic stained and dark with smudges where his armor had left mark; just home from service, he had joined our ranks to do his pilgrikage and render thanks." “His only care was study, and indeed he never spoke a word more than was need, formal at that, respectful in the extreme, short, to the point, and lofty in his theme. A tone of moral virtue filled his speech and gladly would he learn, and gladly teach.” Does anyone want to elaborate? "A Sergeant at the Law who paid his calls, wary and wise, for clients at St. Paul's there also was, of noted excellence. Discreet he was, a man to reverence, or so he seemed, his sayings were wise. He often had been Justice of Assize by letters patent, and in full commission. His fame and learning and his high position had won him many a robe and many a fee. There was no such conveyeyancer as he; all was fee-simple to his strong digestion, not one conveyance could be called in question." “There was a Franklin with him, it appeared; white as a daisy-petal was his beard. A sanguine man, high-colored and benign, he loved a morning sop of cake in wine.

As noted as St. Julian was for bounty he made his household free to all the County.” What motivates the Franklin? Paraphrase lines 345 – 348. He lived for pleasure and had always done, for he was Epicurus’ very son, in whose opinion sensual delight was the one true felicity in sight. "A Haberdasher, a Dyer a Carpenter, a Weaver, and a Carpet-maker were among our ranks, all in the livery of one impressive guild-fraternity. They were so trim and fresh their gear would pass for new. Their knives were not tricked out with brass but wrought with purest silver, which avouches a like display on girdles and on pouches. Each seemed a worthy burgess, fit to grace a guild-hall with a seat upon the dais. 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. And if they did not think so, then they ought; to be called 'Madam' is a glorious thought, and so is going to church and being seen having your mantle carried, like a queen." “In Flanders and Artois and Picardy and had done valiantly in little space of time, in hope to win his lady’s grace. he was embroidered like a meadow bright and full of freshest flowers, red and white. Singing he was, or fluting all the day; he was as fresh as is the month of May. Short was his gown, the sleeves were long and wide; he knew the way to sit a horse and ride.” “When in April the sweet showers fall and pierce the drought of March to the root, and all the veins are bathed in liquor of such power as brings about the engendering of the flower, when also Zephyrus with his sweet breath exhales an air in every grove and heath upon the tender shoots, and the young sun his half-course in the sign of the Ram has run, and the small fowl are making melody that sleep away the night with open eye (So nature pricks them and their heart engages) then people long to go on pilgrimages” “But none the less, while I have time and space, before my story takes a further pace, it seems a reasonable thing to say what their condition was, the full array of each of them, as it appeared to me, according to profession and degree, and what apparel they were riding in; and at a Knight I therefore will begin.” Does anyone know what a Haberdasher is? The Haberdasher, the Weaver, and the Dyer are linked, does anyone know how they are linked to each other? The Carpenter and the Carpet-maker are also linked, does anybody know how? From The General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer A Haberdasher is a person who sells men's clothing. They all have something to do with men's clothing. A Weaver makes men's clothing. A Dyer dyes men's clothing. A Haberdasher sells men's clothing. Both a Carpet-maker and a carpenter have to do with carpet. A Carpet-maker makes carpet. A Carpenter lays out carpet. "They had a Cook with them who stood alone for boiling chicken with a marrow-bone, sharp flavoring-powder and a spice for savor. He could distinguish London ale by flavor, and he could roast and seethe and broil and fry, make good thick soup and bake a tasty pie. But what a pity--so it seemed to me, that he should have an ulcer on his knee. As for blancmange, he made it with the best." Does anyone know what blancmange is? Blancmange is a white pudding made of milk, rice, and seasonings. IT'S QUIZ TIME!!! Let's see if you have been paying attention! 1)Who does the author talk about first?
2)The Squire is who's son?
3)What does the author think of the Yeoman? And who is the Yeoman with?
4)Who was with the Prioress?
5)What does the author think of the Knight? 6)The Squire was a blank and blank?
7)Why did the author think that the Yeoman was a forrester?
8)"He had a special license from the Pope." Who is this talking about?
9)What was the Prioress's name?
10)Who was the Franklin with? Who was mentioned after the Cook? Take out a piece of paper! THE END!!! Presented by: Tacara J. Allen
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