Chaucer Term Paper Essay, Research Paper
HIS JOURNEY OF THE CANTERBURY TALES
THESIS: The Knight, Squire, Prioress, The Monk and the Friar are defined by their settings in Geoffrey Chaucer?s “Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales.
1. Portnoy says in his article in the Chaucer Review that “The General Prologue is like a mirror reflecting the individuals appearance which then defines the character of that person.” (281)
2. Scanlon backs up Portnoy in his article from Speculum by saying “?Characters descriptions somehow emerge inevitably from the original intentions of Chaucer?s text or reflect its lasting value.” (128)
3. Russell remarks in his book Chaucer & the Trivium: The Mindsong of the Canterbury Tales:
There is something that seems natural and almost unavoidable in the structure of the individual portraits in the General Prologue: How else could you describe the characters without passing judgment on them? (62)
The Knight is defined by his settings.
1. Andrew says in The Canterbury Tales: The General Prologue:
The Knight is described as having no name, no family seat, no manor house, and no lands. Furthermore, his obsession with foreign service indicates a lack of feudal ties and bears all the marks of a career of a landless knight, without family or possessions in England. (80)
2. Andrew says “The Knight is described as an aged veteran warrior, with whom the stern realities of life have sobered down much of his early romance.” (43)
3. The Knight fought in his sovereign?s wars in both Christian and heathen places, which shows he is a holy and honorable man by he followed his king?s commands, and he fought for religious purposes.
4. Roggiers reiterates that statement in his book The Art of the Canterbury Tales by saying “The Knights Tale is Chaucer?s own established pole of thought, philosophico-chivalric and religious, implying the ideals by which the community lives and prospers.” (10)
5. The Knight never said anything boorish, showing he was a wise man.
6. He possessed fine horses, showing he was looked upon as a great man because me must have been given the horses for something good he did, because he couldn?t afford them normally.
7. He wore a fustian tunic, stained and dark with smudges where his armor had left a mark, showing he was a very simple man not worried about his appearance.
8. After he finished serving in wars, he came home to do his pilgrimage and render thanks, showing he was religious and a hard worker.
The Squire is defined by his settings.
1. The Squire had wonderful agility and strength displaying how he was prepared and fit to be a warrior and has chivalrous qualities.
2. The Squire?s shirt was embroidered like a meadow, bright and full of fresh flowers, red and white, illustrating he was concerned with his appearance and getting a lover.
3. He was singing and fluting all day, always joyful and trying to meet a lady.
4. He knew how to sit on a horse and ride; he could recite songs and poems; he could joust and dance, draw, and write, showing he was almost flawless.
5. Andrew says in The Canterbury Tales: The General Prologue “The Squire is like the Knight with the germ or perhaps greater perfection skill, as he blends literature and the arts with his warlike studies.” (43)
6. Andrew goes even further by saying “The Squire is described as a young, loving, enthusiastic, poetical, romantic, and an accomplished aspirant for military honours.” (43)
7. The Squire wanted to serve his father, illustrating he was a loyal person.
The Prioress is defined by her settings.
1. Frendell says “The opening description of the Prioress reveals a strong connection between appearance and the Prioress?s intentions.”(Chaucer Review, 185).
2. Hussey also backs up that statement by saying in his book An Introduction to Chaucer “The Prioress?s portrayal of lack of religious dedication reflects her immorality.” (126)
3. The Prioress had very good manners, for example, no morsel fell from her lips, and she never dipped her fingers in the sauce too deep, showing she was brought up in a rich family.
4. She fed her little dogs with roasted flesh, milk, and fine white bread, showing she still had the best in life and was not living in poverty like a nun should.
5. The Prioress wore a coral trinket on her arm, had a rosary that gaudies were colored in green, and a gold broach which said “Amor Vincit Omnia”, depicting a nun who still had many valuable possessions.
6. The Prioress traveled with another nun and three priests, showing she was respected.
The Monk is defined by his settings.
1. Blake says “The monk was depicted as an outrageous and superficial man illustrating his inability to follow the guidelines of his profession,” in his article “Chaucer?s Text and the Web of Words”. (226)
2. The Monk had many dainty horses in his stable, saying he wasn?t as dedicated to living as a monk as he should be.
3. The Monk ignored all the traditional rules of being a monk and made his own rules, which says he was not as religious as he appeared.
4. The Monk was a hunter, showing he didn?t mind killing, and hunters were known for not being religious men.
5. Monks were supposed to engage in manual labor, but he said that St. Augustine could do his labor himself, saying he wasn?t a dedicated monk.
6. The Monk had the best greyhounds there were, showing he never gave up all possessions to become a monk.
7. The Monk was a fat man, showing that he spoiled himself with food and he was a glutton.
The Friar is defined by his settings.
1. The Friar charged for marriages, gouging everybody for what they were worth, although he should have married people for a lot less, thus, making him greedy.
2. The Friar would give people a penance for their sins for a fee, showing his greed.
3. The Friar kept a tippet stuffed with pins, and pocketknives to give to girls, showing he was lecherous.
4. The Friar sang and played the hurdy-gurdy, and knew the taverns well in every town, showing he was a jolly and fun man.
5. The Friar wouldn?t go around the lepers, beggars, and “scum,” because it was not fitting with the dignity of his position; he would only be around the rich and victual-sellers, showing he was a stuck up man.
6. The Friar arbitrated disputes for a small fee, showing he was not dedicated to his job and he would not help anyone out without a fee.
CONCLUSION: The Knight, Squire, Prioress, Monk, and the Friar are defined by their settings in Geoffrey Chaucer?s “Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales.
Andrew, Malcolm. The Canterbury Tales: The General Prologue. Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1993.
Blake, Norman. “Chaucer?s Text and the Web of Words.” New Perspectives in Chaucer Criticism. Ed. Donald M. Rose. Norman: Pilgrim Books Inc, 1980.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. “”Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales.” England in Literature. Eds. John Pfordrester, et.al. Inglewood Cliffs: Foresman, 1972.
Fredell, Joel. “Late Gothic Portraiture: The Prioress and Philippa.” Chaucer Review, 23(May 10, 1989):181-191.
Hussey, Maurice. An Introduction to Chaucer. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1972.
Portnoy, Phyllis. “Beyond the Gothic Cathederal: Post Modern Reflections in the “Canterbury Tales”.” Chaucer Review, 28(May 31, 1994):279-292.
Roggiers, Paul G. The Art of the Canterbury Tales. Milwaukee: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1965.
Russell, J. Stephen. Chaucer & the Trivium: The Mindsong of the Canterbury Tales. Miami: University Press of Florida, 1998.
Scanlon, Larry. “A Variorum Edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 2: The Canterbury Tales: The General Prologue” Speculum, 72(January 1997):127-129