Saturday, November 04, 2006

Canterbury Prologue

Yes, some of this is quoted from my essay.

1) Chaucer’s "Canterbury Tales" is an amazing kaleidoscope of characters, subjects, parables, vocations, morals and philosophical views. Although this pilgrimage to Beckett’s tomb portrays an assortment of personalities on parade, none of the participants are of extreme nobility or are desperate derelicts. Rather, through stories and vignettes, a variety of voices reveal insightful glimpses not only of the Middle Age’s middle class, but also into human nature as a whole.

2) By using prototypes and parodies, Chaucer addresses such themes as love, relationships, religion, loyalty and money. In the "Franklin’s Tale", a super-idealized marriage is comprised of love and equality, whereas the overbearing ‘Wife of Bath’ shows a woman’s desire for ultimate power in a relationship. Themes of sex, adultery, and money are explored in the bawdy "Shipman’s Tale." Greed, gluttony and hypocrisy are seen in the clergy - especially, the monk and the friar.

3) Chaucer’s choice to employ a keen, yet relatively nonjudgmental narrator to introduce and describe this amazing caravan of people is delightfully effective. I enjoy the lively remarks, the social exchange and, especially the diversity of this procession. The speaker paints portraits with words; he not only vividly depicts physical attributes, but mental and emotional states. Through clever use of diction, dialogue, and humor, Chaucer presents a dreamscape of humanity with all of its failings.


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