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Friday, March 4. QW #6 – social class Canterbury Tales Notes. Today’s Goals. Discuss characterization/social class Learn helpful historical background information for The Canterbury Tales Review the literary devices Chaucer uses (satire, frame story). QW #6– Social Class.
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Friday, March 4 • QW #6 – social class • Canterbury Tales Notes
Today’s Goals • Discuss characterization/social class • Learn helpful historical background information for The Canterbury Tales • Review the literary devices Chaucer uses (satire, frame story)
QW #6– Social Class • How is RHS divided into social groups? How can you tell who is in which groups? Do people pick their groups or are they assigned in some way? Can you move from one group to another with ease or is it difficult? How do the members of each group relate to members of other groups?
Introduction to The Canterbury Tales • Characterization • Classicism • Medieval social structure • Changing times • Social satire
Characterization • The process by which a writer reveals the personality of a character • Can be direct or indirect • Narrator can tell us • Describe how looks/dresses • Character’s words/actions • Reveal character’s thoughts/feelings • Showing how others respond to, think about, or speak about the character
Classicism • Clergy • Nobility • Ruling class • Aristocracy • Fighting class • Peasants • Middle class (not recognized) • Trade class (not recognized) • Peasantry class • Women (sorry, ladies)
Rigid structure • Attempts to move from one group to another was considered against the laws of nature and of God.
The Three Estates • Men were classed according to what they did • Those who pray • Those who fight • Those who work
Women were classed according to their relationship to men Virgin Wife Widow Men and Women
Changing Times • Renaissance approaching • Science progressing • Greek literature rediscovered • Democracy • Capitalism encouraged social change • Chaucer wrote “Tales” as satire
The Canterbury Tales • Written as “estates satire” • Shows each of the three estates and portrays the ideal members of each, as well as the problems with the social structure • Publicly exposed corruption • Written in Middle English
Geoffrey Chaucer • Father of English poetry • Before Chaucer, serious poets would not write in English – felt that English could not convey the nuances & complexities of serious literature • Well-known gov’t official under Edward III, Richard II, Henry IV
Why else is Chaucer important? • CT, similar to Italy’s Decameron, uses a frame device • Strength of spirit & personality – “In a dark, troubled age, he was a comfortable optimist, serene, full of faith.” (John Gardner)
As we read… • Keep in mind that it has been said that Chaucer defends one true virtue…charity – the good man’s willingness to give the benefit of the doubt, to find some nobility in even the most wretched & deplorable of people . Do you believe this is true?
Pilgrimage • Religious journey made to a shrine or a holy place • Pilgrims = many stations & many stages in life • CT begins pilgrimage in spring = why symbolic?
Murder of Beckett • Friend of King Henry • Named Archbishop as means to control the Church • Murdered by King’s men when he defied King’s authority
Pilgrimage to Canterbury • Beckett was very popular • Quickly made a saint • Homage at his tomb
“Frame” Tale • Over twenty characters traveling together to Canterbury • Inn’s Host challenges them to each tell a story on the way to Canterbury • The best story wins a free dinner • Premise provides a “frame” within which to hear the stories.
“Frame” Story • Includes # of different narratives • Outer story (pilgrimage) unites traveler’s individual tales (inner stories) • Tales themselves have thematic unity