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The Canterbury Tales: Prologue Characterization

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  1. The Canterbury Tales: PrologueCharacterization I will identify physical traits and mannerisms of each character. I will use characterization to analyze each character.

  2. Chaucer’s plan • In the Prologue, he would introduce all the characters, describing the physical details and mannerisms of each of the 30 pilgrims. • On the way to Canterbury, each pilgrim would tell two tales. (30x2=60 stories) • On way back to the Tabard Inn in London, each character would tell two tales. (30x2= another 60 stories) • Chaucer died before he completed his goals. We are left with the prologue and about 20 tales.

  3. Using the first stanza • In what time of year does the poem take place? • Give four signs of this season • What major religious holiday is in this season? • Why would this be a good time to go on a pilgrimage? (several reasons)

  4. Using the first stanza • In what time of year does the poem take place? • Spring • Give four signs of this season • Sign of the Ram (Aries) • (you find) • (you find) • (you find) • What major religious holiday is in this season? • Easter • Why would this be a good time to go on a pilgrimage? (several reasons) • Better weather, more food, religious renewal

  5. Set up your chart: (Continue as we read…) Knight Squire Yeoman Prioress (nun) Physical Details Mannerisms, behaviors and Actions Your evaluation and seven sins? Character

  6. Knight • wears: worn armor, stained tunic, modest clothes, "not gaily" dressed; • an older man • chivalrous, a gentleman, noble, good soldier (fights only religious battles), a Crusader Now, what is your evaluation of the knight? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  7. Squire • curly hair, 20 years old, average height/ strength • wears: tunic embroidered with red/white flowers (expensive) • soldier in training: jousts and rides with cavalry • plays flute, dances, reads and writes poetry; • He’s a "ladies man” Now, what is your evaluation of the squire? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  8. Yeoman (Ranger) • wears: green hood and tunic, arrows with peacock feathers, bow, sword, dirk, St. Christopher’s medal • tanned face • woodsman, hunter, tracker; equipment well cared for Now, what is your evaluation of the Yeoman? Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  9. Quick question • What are the vows that most religious orders take (i.e. what are they to give up? To what do they devote themselves?) • Vow of poverty (give up money) • Vow of chastity (give up sex) • Devote yourself to the needs of others (Christ-like) • Live in the spiritual, not be “of the world” Special for Monks • Vow of silence (give up unnecessary/any talking) • Live in a Cloister (monastery)

  10. Prioress - R(high ranking nun) • wears: coral bracelet, clean clothes • delicate nose, glass-grey eyes, small and red mouth, wide forehead (sign of beauty) • proper woman (almost noble-like), good manners (finishing school), speaks French • loves animals, cares for appearance • travels with another nun and three priests Now, what is your evaluation of the Prioress? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  11. Monk - R • wears: wealthy clothes: fur trim on coat, clasp made of gold • very fat, bald head "shiny" • hunts for sport, living worldly (not in monastery or "cloister") has greyhounds for hunting. • Hates: reading, being quiet, being "cloistered, being poor/wearing poor clothes (all things a monk should do) Now, what is your evaluation of the Monk? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  12. Friar - R • wears: robes are fancy like doctor or pope • shaved head (bald on top only) • shaped like a bell (fat, excess material) • woos women then "gets them married", greedy, flatterer • goes only to taverns and inns to do work (avoids poor neighborhoods), likes money • "player" or "pimp" (i.e. con-artist) Now, what is your evaluation of the Friar? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  13. Merchant • Forked beard • multi-colored “dress” (robe) • Beaver hat • Bucked boots • Gives his opinion • Expert in money/trade • Exchanges foreign currently for profit (illegal) • He’s in debt Now, what is your evaluation of the Merchant? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  14. Oxford Cleric – R (Religious student) • looks “unworldly”, wears threadbare overcoat • horse is thin (ribs show), he's thin (corpse-like) with hollow cheeks, very skinny • reads books and focuses on studies • studies philosophy • earnest (frugal), straight talking (to the point) and doesn't gossip. Now, what is your evaluation of the Oxford Cleric? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  15. Sergeant at the law (lawyer) • Homely parti-colored coat • Silk belt – pinstriped • Wary and wise • Travels as a judge • Specializes in conveyances (deeds) • Never find a mistake in his work Now, what is your evaluation of the Sergeant at the Law? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  16. Franklin • old, grey beard, white skin on neck, sanguine face (cheerful); • wears: dagger, purse of silk. • liked worldly pleasures, demanding • let people eat for free (would fix feasts for them), political - sheriff. • Well liked. Now, what is your evaluation of the Franklin? (would you travel with her, do you like her? etc..) Does she fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  17. Guild Members • All dressed similarly (shows belonging to guild) • Knives and purses decorated with silver • Belong to a guild (organization like a union) • Haberdasher (hat maker), carpenter, weaver, dyer and tapestry maker • Nouveau rich (new rich) • Travel with wives Now, what is your evaluation of the Guild Members? (would you travel with them, do you like them? etc..) Do they fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  18. Cook • Has ulcer (open infected wound on knee) • Friends with guildsmen • Great chef; Can roast, simmer, fry, boil and can cook specialty dishes and desserts. Now, what is your evaluation of the Cook? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  19. Skipper (Pirate) • Brown from sun (tan) • Dagger hanging from lanyard • Burly (strong muscled) • From Dartmouth • Eats a lot • Steals and drinks wine • Makes prisoners walk the plank (“sends them home”) • Good navigator; reads stars, has been all through many seas and ports Now, what is your evaluation of the Skipper? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  20. Doctor • blood-red garments (hides blood stains) with blue-grey slashes (like on jerkin), also has taffeta • greedy, likes gold best of all • doesn’t' read Bible, uses "modern" medicine (horoscopes, four-humors, etc) to diagnose patients • worked with apothecary (druggist) to earn money from prescriptions. Now, what is your evaluation of the doctor? (would you travel with her, do you like her? etc..) Does she fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  21. Wife of Bath* • wears: new shoes, handkerchiefs (so fancy they look heavy), red hose with garters, hat as large as shield, richly dressed; • has gap in teeth (sign of beauty/sexuality), large hips, larger woman, "handsome" • married 5 times • seamstress - sews and embroiders • travels a lot (Jerusalem), rides horse • likes to talk and give advice on relationships Now, what is your evaluation of the Wife of Bath? (would you travel with her, do you like her? etc..) Does she fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  22. Parson - R • carries a stave (staff) • diligent, holy man • collects money for poor and gives to poor, dedicated to his "flock” or congregation (“shepherd” to men), preaches word of God and lives by it • will visit people no matter the weather/distance/etc. • (Brother of the Plowman) Now, what is your evaluation of the Parson? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  23. Plowman • Wore tabard smock • Rode a mare • Brother of the Parson • Works on farm – honest, hard worker • Follows simple virtues; loves God and is good to his neighbors • Helps those in need • Pays his tithes (church-tax) Now, what is your evaluation of the Plowman? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  24. Miller • Big-boned (muscular) brawny; weighs 16 stone (225 lbs) • Has broad red beard; has hairy wart; Large mouth; “ugly” • White coat, blue hood • Miller = grinds grain to flour • Can yank door off hinges with hands/butt with head • Tells dirty stories • Plays bagpipes Now, what is your evaluation of the Miller? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  25. Manciple • (none) • Purchasing agent • Works for lawyers • Shrewd business man – smarter than all of them • Made small fortune for himself Now, what is your evaluation of the Manciple? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  26. Reeve • Skinny, close-cut beard, hair cut strait around head (bowl cut) • Rides grey horse • Rusty sword • Manages a large estate; in charge of all animals (sheep, cattle, swine, horses, poultry) • Shrewd organizer and manager of money • Bad-tempered Now, what is your evaluation of the Reeve? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  27. Summoner • carbuncles (large pus filled pimples), red face like cherub, black scabby brows, thin beard • Garland of flowers around head • “summons” people to court • drinks wine (often too much) eats onions/garlic/ leeks (breath and skin smell) • Children fear him, run away • Speaks Latin phrases to get time to think (not bright), • blackmails people (keep “concubines”) to get wine Now, what is your evaluation of the Summoner? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  28. Pardoner* - R • yellow hair like wax, stringy (like flax), ends like rattails • bulging eyeballs, no beard, high voice • a eunuch (castrated man) • earns money by: forgiving peoples sins (job) • selling "holy relics" (fakes!) to other religious people, singing; a fraud Now, what is your evaluation of the Pardoner? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  29. Speaker • (none) • Narrator of poem • In intro, tells season (spring) and benefits of travelling. • At end, he apologizes for how rude some of the stories will be, but says he’s just “quoting what they say” (gives Chaucer license to tell crude stories that may upset people) Now, what is your evaluation of the Speaker? (would you travel with him, do you like him? etc..) Does he fit a deadly sin? Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions

  30. Host • fat, bright and wide spaced eyes • tactful, wise, a joker, good natured • proposes contest: each pilgrim (person) tells total of four stories (2 on way there, 2 on way back) • he'll judge winner, winner gets meal (paid for by all others - not host). • If drop out of contest, must pay for everything. (Just copy, no evaluation on this character) Physical Details Mannerisms, Behaviors and Actions