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Geoffrey Chaucer 1343-1400. The Canterbury Tales. Biographical Information. Considered one of the 3 greatest poets of the English language. Son of a prosperous London wine merchant who secured a position for him as a page in a royal household.

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Geoffrey Chaucer 1343-1400


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geoffrey chaucer 1343 1400

Geoffrey Chaucer1343-1400

The Canterbury Tales

biographical information
Biographical Information
  • Considered one of the 3 greatest poets of the English language.
  • Son of a prosperous London wine merchant who secured a position for him as a page in a royal household.
  • At 20 years old, during military service, Chaucer was captured in France and the King paid his ransom.
biographical information3
Biographical Information
  • He married a woman of great connections and went on to be a civil servant, serving as a customs controller, justice of the peace and eventually a member of Parliament.
  • In 1387 he began The Canterbury Tales, a work he never completed.
  • The General Prologue is said to be “a concise portrait of an entire nation.”
medieval period
Medieval Period
  • 1066, Battle of Hastings
    • Normans from France beat the Anglo-Saxons
    • William the Conquerer leads (Norman King)
    • 2 cultures blend: begins feudalism
medieval period5
Medieval Period
  • 1154, Norman line ends
  • Henry II starts the Plantagenet Line
    • Executes Thomas Beckett, the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1170.
medieval period6
Medieval Period
  • 1399-1413, House or Line of Lancaster
    • Hundred Years War 1337-1453, England wanted to claim France’s land.
medieval period7
Medieval Period
  • In 1455, Henry VI becomes ill and gives the throne to the Duke of York, starting the York line.
    • War of the Roses- York (white rose) and Lancaster (red rose).
    • Edward IV becomes the 1st York King.
story of canterbury
Story of Canterbury
  • These tales are told during a pilgrimage journey from London to the shrine of the martyr, St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral, approximately 70 miles to the southeast.
  • St. Thomas Becket was executed by the order of Henry II…
thomas becket
Thomas Becket
  • Born in 1118 in London
  • Studied in London and at the University of Paris.
  • His father died, leaving him broke and the Archbishop of Canterbury took him in and financed his education.
  • He became involved in the political happenings of the time and was eventually appointed Chancellor of England by Henry II, becoming the second most powerful man in England.
thomas becket10
Thomas Becket
  • He famed for luxury and a magnificent lifestyle.
  • Henry nominated him the Archbishop of Canterbury and everything changed.
  • He was ordained a priest and began living in great austerity.
  • He soon clashed with the king over clerical and king rights.
thomas becket11
Thomas Becket
  • For 6 years they continued to clash
  • Becket's allegiance shifted from the court to the Church inspiring him to take a stand against his king.
  • Becket had excommunicated the Bishops of London and Salisbury for their support of the king.
  • This news threw King Henry (still in France) into a rage in which he was purported to shout: "What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?"
thomas becket12
Thomas Becket
  • The king's exact words have been lost to history but his outrage inspired four knights to sail to England to rid the realm Becket. They arrived at Canterbury during the afternoon of December 29 and immediately searched for the Archbishop. Becket fled to the Cathedral where a service was in progress. The knights found him at the altar, drew their swords and began hacking at their victim finally splitting his skull.
  • The death of Becket unnerved the king. The knights who did the deed to curry the king's favor, fell into disgrace. Several miracles were said to occur at the tomb of the martyr and he was soon canonized. Hordes of pilgrims transformed Canterbury Cathedral into a shrine. Four years later, in an act of penance, the king donned a sack-cloth walking barefoot through the streets of Canterbury while eighty monks flogged him with branches. Henry capped his atonement by spending the night in the martyr's crypt. St. Thomas continued as a popular cultist figure for the remainder of the Middle Ages.
the story of canterbury continued
The Story of Canterbury Continued…
  • The tales begin with the “General Prologue”, the first lines of which establish the fact that this pilgramage takes place in the spring, the symbolic time of new life and awakening.
  • Along the way the poet stops at an inn and the Host suggests to the travelers that they all exchange tales as they travel.
  • He wrote in iambic pentameter: a line of poetry ten syllables long with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. This later becomes the most popular metrical line in English.