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The Canterbury Tales. The Medieval period. Lasted from around the 5 th to the 15 th Century Society governed by the feudal system, which replaced Anglo-Saxon social structure

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the medieval period
The Medieval period
  • Lasted from around the 5th to the 15th Century
  • Society governed by the feudal system, which replaced Anglo-Saxon social structure
  • This system established different ruling classes, with the king as the leader of the nation; at the bottom were free laborers and serfs, or enslaved peoples who worked for other classes
code of chivalry
Code of chivalry
  • Women had few to no political rights during the period
  • Chivalry: moral and social law and customs of upper classes during the Middle Ages
  • The Code of Chivalry was based around three areas: how to behave as far as war, religion, and women.
  • All knights were supposed to obey this code
  • Courtly love: medieval way of appropriately showing love and admiration; typically secret and between two members of the noble class
the medieval period1
The Medieval period
  • The Black Death (bubonic plague) affected the population of medieval Europe – and England – greatly
  • From 1348-1350, the disease killed about 1.5 million people in medieval England, out of a population of of 4 million
  • Transmitted through infected fleas that fed on rats and humans
  • Brought about social, economic, and religious changes
author background
Author background
  • The Canterbury Tales were written by Geoffrey Chaucer.
  • Lived from around 1343-1400.
  • Worked in a royal house, as a soldier, as a diplomat, and as a royal clerk
  • No clear inspiration for the Tales: may have been based on Chaucer’s own pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Thomas Becket
  • Often called the Father of English Poetry.
the canterbury tales1
The Canterbury Tales
  • Believed to have been started around 1380
  • Considered to be unfinished – only around 24 of the 120 stories were completed
  • Originally written in Middle English
  • In the story, 30 pilgrims are traveling to the tomb of Thomas Becket
  • Becket was appointed archbishop of Canterbury by King Henry II to help the king control the Catholic Church
  • Becket turned on the king and was assassinated by his knights
  • Struggle between king and church
the canterbury tales2
The canterbury tales
  • The tales represent many different social classes in medieval life
  • Very different from other literature of the period
    • Realism
  • Characterization: direct vs. indirect
    • What do we know about the characters? Are we told, or shown?
    • Direct: direct statements about a character
    • Indirect: uses action, dialogue, and thoughts to reveal a character’s personality