The Age of Chaucer. The Prologue from The Canterbury Tales. Poem by Geoffrey Chaucer Translated by Nevill Coghill did you know? Geoffrey Chaucer. Canterbury Tales: Prologue. [Parallel Texts]. For information about sources and permissions, see below, p. The Canterbury Tales: Prologue. Here bygynneth . world, and on people. The style of the rest of the Prologue and Tales is much simpler than this To Canterbury with full devout couráge, spirit, heart. At night.

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The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Lines 1– Geoffrey Chaucer ((?)– ). WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote. The droghte of Marche hath. chaucer's prologue to the canterbury tales summary geoffrey chaucer, the man responsible for the spreading and development of middle english dialect was not. THE CANTERBURY TALES. The General Prologue. The Knight's Tale. The Miller's tale. The Reeve's Tale. The Cook's Tale. The Man of Law's Tale. The Wife of.

Chaucer is a liberal comedian. He, like Shakespeare, depicts the various types of humorous characters. Chaucer was a humorist to the core. He did not believe in the perfect purity of a man.

He believed that man is liable to make mistakes and commit sins. It means that good and evil are the basic components of human being.

Hence his weakness should be taken lightly and he should be forgiven for his infirmities.

The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue

That is why; Chaucer is never harsh in his characterization. He delights in presenting plain men and women, interested in the normal course of living. But Chaucer is never harsh in tone while portraying this character. But he is making reference to his apathy towards the poor.

Similarly, he seems to be agreed to the view that a monk should not be confined to his seclusion. Chaucer was a born humorist.

CT General Prologue.pdf - Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury...

He was the master of humour and irony. He was the first true humorist in English Literature, and it is by his humour that Chaucer has won a permanent place in the hearts of his readers. Mansfield calls him, a great Renaissance gentleman mocking the Middle Ages. Humour was the stuff and substance of his entire mental constitution and the essence of his art.

The Canterbury Tales

It was the colour of humour that gave the lively touch of his poetry and made it a fountain of liveliness and joy. It was his humour that strengthened him against all misfortunes and enabled him to retain the freshness of his youth in spite of many miseries. He was a great master of humour and all his writings abound in it in all its rich variety.

He belongs to great humorists of English literature. Lowell gives expression to the humour of Chaucer in the following words: It is not the wit of the Frenchman. His humour is born of a strong commonsense and a generous sympathy and these are the qualities of the great English humorists like Shakespeare and Fielding. He was essentially the poet of man intensely interested in man and his affairs. He had large humanity and good humoured tolerance.

He had no disliking for fools and no hate for rascals. While gently unmasking the evil of the rogues, he was grateful of them for the pleasure they gave. Thus his humour was the offspring of large humanity and catholicity of temper without a grain of ill-will.

His understanding sympathy with the unpleasant side of life, his genial temperament which made him observe with delight the frailties of mankind all these made him a great humorist. His imagination could raise bubbles of fun out of unexpected places. It brightens whatever it touches.

This geniality separates Chaucer from such later humorists as Addison and Jane Austin who can be cruel. Cruelty and Chaucer are strangers. Every object was viewed by him with humour. There is the tone of sympathy for its victim. Humour takes many forms in literature. It can be used both in broad and limited sense. In the narrow sense it means a little jolly good natured mirth.

In its broader sense it stands for noisy humour Fun , intellectual humour wit , gentle humour and bitter humour satire. Chaucer raises humour at his own cost as at the cost of his pilgrims. He spares not even himself and cracks many a jest at his own expense. He refers to himself as a simple unlettered man. There is humour also in the general plan and setting of the Canterbury Tales. The set of pilgrims on the way are like the members of the crew of Comus than the holy pilgrims.

They provide a humorous spectacle of humanity on the move as we meet them in their journey. Chaucer shows them calling to each other, criticizing each other and quarreling with each other.

They shout and swear, laugh and weep, interrupt the story teller, pass compliments and thus keep alive the spirit of life.

In this way a comedy of action goes through the whole poem. Chaucer is regarded as the father of English poetry and the earliest of the great moderns. In those dark days when the light of modernism had not yet visible on the horizon, Chaucer hoped the modern taste and modern mind, and his poetry introduced qualities far in advance of his times.

Though Chaucer could not write a drama or a novel as we know it, but his works contain the seeds of both of the modern drama and the novel. If he had lived a few years more, he would certainly have been our first dramatist and novelist, just as he is the first national poet of England.

Chaucer made several contributions to English poetry. Chaucer was the first great national poet of England giving full expression to the new hopes and desires of the people of his times. He voiced through his poetry that national unity which had been brought about by the fusion of the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons. The growing influence of France was checked and for the first time gave expression to the life, ideals, hopes and desires of the people of England, in the natural language.

Modern poetry is characterized by realism. The modern poet is keen observer of the various tendencies of his times which are being put by him in poetry.

This modern note of realism had been sounded by Chaucer long ago in the 14th Century.

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He made a thorough study of his time in its different aspects and gave expression to its hopes and desires in the Canterbury Tales. His observations about his times are true and realistic.

He stands in much the same relation to the life of his time as Pope does to the earlier phases of the 18th Century and Tennyson to the Victorian age. He presents a cross-section of English life in the 14th Century in a very successful manner. His description: He has clarity even when he describes the details of spring mornings and flowery gardens. He had a unique power of description in showing merits and demerits of his fellow-men.

Thus the prologue to the Canterbury Tales is a picture gallery that contains all classes of people ranging from the Knight to the Miller and the Cook. His description of his fellow-men shows his wide humanity and toleration. He is not opposed. He takes interest in his fellowmen.

He becomes one with them and does not fall foul on them like Lang land. Cruelty and Chaucer are far apart, says Aldous Huxley. He is the poet of humanity.

Chaucer looks on his characters and smile while Lang land cries aloud in anger. Chaucer is the supreme story-teller. In his stories the narration is straightforward and not tempered. He introduces humour in his narration and makes his stories life-like and living. Chaucer made significant contribution to the art of characterization. Chaucer is the first great painter of character according to Ward.

He is first great observer of it among European writers. He presents his characters in a masterly manner. His characters are both individuals and types. His characters like those of Shakespeare are life-like and we cannot forget them. The Knight, the Friar, the Pardoner, the Wife of.

His Humour and Pathos: Chaucer is in the grand tradition of the great humorist and while his humour may have the peculiar English tinge and flavour yet it has also the essence of all true humour. This places him in the very first line of humorists. Chaucer lays less emphasis on pathos but it is not ignored. In the poetry of Chaucer the sentiment is human and unforced. He shows sympathy for inevitable sorrow.

Dramatic Elements in his Poetry: He is essentially a dramatist and if his great work does not appear in the conventional dramatic form, it is an accident of the time, and by no means proves a want of power of original conception or of artistic skill in the author.

All his characters talk in a dramatic manner. The most sustained dramatic character is that of the Host. The spirit of comedy is clear in his tales.

As a Precursor of the Novel: The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales is the prologue to the modern fiction. It is the preface to Don Quixote and the preface to Gill Blas. The tales with their characters and their atmosphere are novels in miniature.

Contribution to Language and Versification: Chaucer made notable contribution to the English language and versification. In , English was split in four dialects. Chaucer popularized, reshaped and reformed the East Midland dialect and gave it the form of the standard tongue. He gave to his native tongue smoothness and flexibility, which it had not known since the Norman times and he gave a high poetical life to this dialect.

Chaucer makes the deepest appeal to the reader of the modern times. They recognize in Chaucer not a man of old age but essentially a modern poet living in age with all signs of modernism. All is joy and everything has a fresh look. The lively picture of life makes a fascinating appeal to the modern readers, and Chaucer is recognized as the earliest of the moderns. Matthew Arnold found Chaucer deficient in sublime ideals and high seriousness.

Another shortcoming of Chaucer is said to be the lack of true lyricism in his poetry.

He is charged by Albert for a fondness of long speeches and long explanations when none are necessary. With a few exceptions, his poetry lacks the mysterious significances. Whatever may be the shortcoming of Chaucer as a poet, it can not be denied that he gave excellent service to English literature in a variety of ways. He was a genius born at a time when the lights were yet hazy. After Chaucer, there was a century of barrenness, and then greatness of the poet came into view in comparison with his followers.

A study guide to "The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales". Chaucer's Age,Chaucer as Medieval poet. Chaucer's prologue as a picture gallery of his Age. Flag for inappropriate content. Related titles. Punjab University Lahore, M.

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Geoffrey Chaucer

Search inside document. Trade and Commerce: Medical Profession: Religious Conditions: Condition of Women: Table Manners: The Spirit of New Learning: The new learning began to be popular at this time, as can be seen in the case of the Clerk of Oxford Conclusion: The Doctor of Physic is interested in gold: National Poet: His Observation and Realism: His Humanity and Tolerance: His Native Art: The rooms and stables spacious were and wide, And well we there were eased, and of the best.

And briefly, when the sun had gone to rest, So had I spoken with them, every one, That I was of their fellowship anon, And made agreement that we'd early rise To take the road, as you I will apprise. But none the less, whilst I have time and space, Before yet farther in this tale I pace, It seems to me accordant with reason To inform you of the state of every one Of all of these, as it appeared to me, And who they were, and what was their degree, And even how arrayed there at the inn; And with a knight thus will I first begin.

A knight there was, and he a worthy man, Who, from the moment that he first began To ride about the world, loved chivalry, Truth, honour, freedom and all courtesy. Full worthy was he in his liege-lord's war, And therein had he ridden none more far As well in Christendom as heathenesse, And honoured everywhere for worthiness.

At Alexandria, he, when it was won; Full oft the table's roster he'd begun Above all nations' knights in Prussia. In Latvia raided he, and Russia, No christened man so oft of his degree. In far Granada at the siege was he Of Algeciras, and in Belmarie. Of mortal battles he had fought fifteen, And he'd fought for our faith at Tramissene Three times in lists, and each time slain his foe. This self-same worthy knight had been also At one time with the lord of Palatye Against another heathen in Turkey: And always won he sovereign fame for prize.

Though so illustrious, he was very wise And bore himself as meekly as a maid. He never yet had any vileness said, In all his life, to whatsoever wight. He was a truly perfect, gentle knight.

But now, to tell you all of his array, His steeds were good, but yet he was not gay. Of simple fustian wore he a jupon Sadly discoloured by his habergeon; For he had lately come from his voyage And now was going on this pilgrimage. With him there was his son, a youthful squire, A lover and a lusty bachelor, With locks well curled, as if they'd laid in press. Some twenty years of age he was, I guess.Thus his humour was the offspring of large humanity and catholicity of temper without a grain of ill-will.

This love for display is shown in several characters of the Prologue. Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne, Entuned in hir nose ful semely; And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly, After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, For Frenssh of Parys was to hire unknowe.

A sheaf of peacock arrows bright and keen Under his belt he bore right carefully Well could he keep his tackle yeomanly: His arrows had no draggled feathers low , And in his hand he bore a mighty bow. Lat Austyn have his swynk to him reserved. If he had lived a few years more, he would certainly have been our first dramatist and novelist, just as he is the first national poet of England.

The first sentence of the General Prologue, is one of the most important 18 lines of poetry in English. A yeoman had he, nor more servants, no, At that time, for he chose to travel so; And he was clad in coat and hood of green.

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