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The Canterbury Tales

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  1. The Canterbury Tales

  2. Geoffrey Chaucer(1343-1400) • “Father of English Poetry” • Most people in Chaucer’s time spoke in Middle English, although educated people wrote in Latin and French. English was not a language that was taken seriously. By writing poetry in English, Chaucer gave respect to the everyday language spoken by the common people.

  3. Chaucer was a well-known government official who served in Parliament under three kings. • He also wrote poetry in his spare time. • Chaucer meant for “Canterbury Tales” to have a total of 120 stories. • In five years, he wrote 24 of the tales.

  4. Canterbury Tales • Written in iambic pentameter • Lines 10 syllables long • Each meter consists of unstressed, stressed syllables

  5. Canterbury • English town famous because Thomas Becket was murdered there in 1170 • Becket was the archbishop of Canterbury, meaning he was the highest Catholic church official in England. • Becket criticizes King Henry II. The King’s knights then murder Beckett on the altar at the church. • Becket was declared a saint by the Catholic church.

  6. Pilgrimages • Taking a pilgrimage was common in Chaucer’s day. Almost all people made one pilgrimage during their lifetime. • In one year alone, more than 100,000 traveled from all over Europe to go to Canterbury. • Reasons to go on pilgrimage: • Honoring saints, physical healing, forgiveness of sins

  7. Chaucer was the first poet buried in the Poet’s Corner of Westminister Abbey.