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Essay on Geoffrey Chaucer

February 25th, 2011 No comments

Geoffrey Chaucer was a narrative poet and one of the greatest English writers. The differences in society are important in understanding the actions and attitudes of Chaucer’s pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales. The social structure of Europe in the 14th century was feudal. Society was organized in a hierarchical form, one’s wealth and power determined the position one occupied. Each level of society had its rights and privileges, and each had its duties and obligations, as do the pilgrims Using the “General Prologue” as an example, Chaucer’s skill as a teller of tales, his precision of characterization, comic tone, use of symbols, language, and metrical techniques all contribute to his unique style of writing.

The Canterbury Tales is a series of tales within a uniting framework, although it was never finished. In the “General Prologue,” Chaucer uses the device of seven members of the feudal order, thirteen people associated with religious life, and fourteen townspeople telling one another stories while travelling on a pilgrimage. There is a significant difference between Chaucer’s framework and other writers. The structure of visualizing the pilgrims telling one another stories is artificial. It is impossible for all thirty-four pilgrims to hear each other’s stories while traveling along a narrow road. Read more…