Literature 12 the middle ages (449-1485)


THE MIDDLE AGES (449-1485)



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THE MIDDLE AGES (449-1485)

B) THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD (1066-1485)

TITLE

THEME

FORM

CONVENTIONS, DEVICES, CHARACTERISTICS

“The Prologue”


of The Canterbury Tales
(Chaucer)

  • Adherence to “the heroic ideal,” Code of Chivalry, and Christian Code of Morality are ideal but impossible to attain.

  • Humanity’s bestial nature prevents us from attaining spiritual/moral perfection.

  • Humans are inherently greedy and lustful.

  • Power corrupts.

Chaucer’s main concern is humankind in society. The personal and social values of numerous characters are revealed. If the pilgrimage can be seen as a quest for the spiritual, a move from the material-physical (TheTabard Inn) to the spiritual (Canterbury), then we can see that the spirituality, integrity, honesty, honour, generosity, etc. of the characters on this QUEST vary hugely. Chaucer uses his characters to personify human weakness and strength (as defined by Christianity).



  • FRAME

STORY

(gentle mockery)

  • Heroic Couplets



1 The HERO is a personification of a culture’s values.

2 WYRD is a belief in fate, inevitable doom.

3 WERGILD, or “manprice” was compensation that could be taken for killing one’s kinsman.

4 A SCOP is the medieval poet, serving as the community historian and preserver of oral tradition, stories and history of the culture.




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