The middle ages
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The Middle Ages . 1066-1485. Literary Elements, terms, and techniques. Romance Miracle Play Morality Play Frame Story Realism Short Story Heroic Couplet Satire Exemplum Strophes. Bob and Wheel Tone Romance Folk Ballad Themes Refrain Incremental Repetition Rhyme Quatrain

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Literary elements terms and techniques
Literary Elements, terms, and techniques

  • Romance

  • Miracle Play

  • Morality Play

  • Frame Story

  • Realism

  • Short Story

  • Heroic Couplet

  • Satire

  • Exemplum

  • Strophes

  • Bob and Wheel

  • Tone

  • Romance

  • Folk Ballad

    • Themes

    • Refrain

    • Incremental Repetition

    • Rhyme

    • Quatrain

    • Iambic Meter

    • Code Language

Norman conquest
Norman Conquest

  • William of Normandy defeats King Harold

  • Divides land among loyal barons

  • Creates feudalism

  • Effects:

    • French

    • Large Norman-Anglo

The middle ages


Lordspowerful landowners

Vassalsdid work or military service for feudal lords in exchange for land

Serfsservants to lords and vassals, bound to their master’s land


  • social, economic, and military system

  • based on a religious concept of rank

  • some vassals appointed by king in return for loyalty

  • lords (powerful vassals) appoint their own vassals

Murder of thomas a beckett
Murder of Thomas A Beckett

Henry II rose to power

Named old colleague Beckett to powerful position of Archbishop of Canterbury

Henry’s knights kill Beckett in the Canterbury Cathedral

Middle english
Middle English

  • More recognizable to modern reader.

  • Middle Class rises

    • Feudalism weakens

    • Canterbury Tales

The general prologue

Whan that Aprill with his shoures sooteThe droghte of March hath perced to the roote,And bathed every veyne in swich licourOf which vertu engendred is the flour;Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breethInspired hath in every holt and heethThe tendre croppes, and the yonge sonneHath in the Ram his half cours yronne,And smale foweles maken melodye,That slepen al the nyght with open ye(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;And specially from every shires endeOf Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,The hooly blisful martir for to seke,That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

Bifil that in that seson on a day,In Southwerk at the Tabard as I layRedy to wenden on my pilgrymageTo Caunterbury with ful devout corage,At nyght was come into that hostelryeWel nyne and twenty in a compaignyeOf sondry folk, by aventure yfalleIn felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.The chambres and the stables weren wyde,And wel we weren esed atte beste.And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,So hadde I spoken with hem everichonThat I was of hir felaweshipe anon,And made forward erly for to ryse,To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.

The General Prologue

Geoffrey chaucer 1340 1400
Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400)

  • Middle class civil servant and diplomat

  • Soldier in the Hundred Years’ War

  • Lived in London

  • The Canterbury Tales

Canterbury tales organizational plan
Canterbury Tales Organizational Plan

  • 4 tales per person: 2 coming; 2 going

  • Actually completed 22

  • Began 2 others

  • Journey to the shrine of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury

  • Becket, murdered in 1170

  • Use of journey motif as framing device

Cathedral of Canterbury

The prologue
The Prologue

  • Sets stage for journey

  • Meeting place the Tabard Inn in Southwark of 29 pilgrims including:

    • Knight and his Squire

    • Yeoman

    • A Nun (Prioress)

    • a chaplain,

    • 3 Priests

    • A monk and a friar

    • A merchant

    • a cleric

    • a lawyer

    • a franklin (freeman)

Pardoner s tale
Pardoner’s Tale

3 young men of drunk and riotous behavior search for Death.

An old man whom they insult tells them that Death lies up the hill under a tree.

They find bags of gold and plot to send the youngest for food and wine and then kill him for the gold.

He returns with poisoned wine and all die.

“The love of money is the root of all evil.”