Literary Shelf

Poetry: Not Everyone's Cup of Tea - 12

Continued from Previous Page


"The Canterbury Tales"

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote "The Canterbury Tales" at the end of the 14th century. It is a huge piece of Middle English writing. The epic is a collection of stories told by a diverse group of travelers on their way to the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury. It gives a lot of information about the social, cultural, and moral life of England in the Middle Ages. "The Canterbury Tales" is a lasting gem because of how well Chaucer told stories and how well he understood people.

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340s – 25 October 1400) was an English poet, author, and civil servant and has been called the "father of English literature", or, alternatively, the "father of English poetry". He was the first writer to be buried in what has since come to be called Poets' Corner, in Westminster Abbey.

Chaucer was born in London, England, to a wealthy family. He received a good education and was fluent in French, Latin, and Italian. He began his career as a courtier and diplomat, and served in several important positions under Edward III, Richard II, and Henry IV.

Chaucer's first major work was The Book of the Duchess (1369), a poem about the death of Blanche of Lancaster, the first wife of John of Gaunt. He also wrote the Parliament of Foules (1382), a dream vision about love and marriage, and Troilus and Criseyde (1385), a love story based on a tale by Boccaccio, and his most famous, The Canterbury Tales (1387-1400). However, The Canterbury Tales was left unfinished. The work was supposed to be made up of 120 stories that 30 visitors on their way to Canterbury Cathedral would tell. But only 24 of the stories were finished, and some of those were not finished either. Chaucer died in 1400, so the work was left unfinished.

Chaucer's work had a profound influence on the development of English literature. He helped to establish the English language as a literary language, and his use of different styles and genres helped to shape the development of the novel and the short story. Chaucer is considered one of the greatest English poets of all time, and his work continues to be read and enjoyed by people all over the world.

There are a few thoughts about why Chaucer didn't finish The Canterbury Tales. He might have just run out of time, for example, he worked as a government servant full-time, so he may not have had the time or energy to finish the work. He could also have been unhappy with the work and chose to stop doing it. He might have thought the work wasn't good enough or that he hadn't done what he set out to do.

No matter what, The Canterbury Tales is still a classic even though it isn't finished. It is a work with a lot of different parts and a lot going on, and people have looked at it in many different ways. People all over the world still read and enjoy Chaucer's work hundreds of years after he died. This is a sign of how elegant he was.

"The Canterbury Tales" has a prominent place in the catalog of world literature because of Chaucer's new ways of telling stories, insightful observations, and vivid characters. This epic continues to be interesting and meaningful to people because it lets us travel with the pilgrims as they learn about life, morals, and the power of storytelling. Some of the most important ideas in the story are:

Social Critique and Satire: Chaucer uses the pilgrimage as a microcosm of medieval English society. The pilgrims reflect different social classes, professions, and moral virtues or vices. Chaucer makes fun of the moral and social flaws of each group through the different characters and their stories. He criticizes the Church's corruption, the hypocrisy of religious leaders, the faults of the aristocracy, and the mistakes of the general people. A lot of the time, fun and irony are mixed in with the social criticism.

Religion and Morality: There are many religious themes in "The Canterbury Tales," which shows how religious people were in the Middle Ages. Many of the stories deal with moral and social problems, showing the tension between wanting things in this world and being saved spiritually. Characters like the Pardoner and the Prioress show how hypocritical and greedy the Church can be. In their stories, other characters try to find redemption or deal with moral problems.

Love and Romance: Love and romance are big parts of a lot of stories. Chaucer shows many different sides of love, from courtly love to the difficulties of marriage. The Knight's Tale, for example, is about the noble love between two heroes, while the Miller's Tale is funny and shows how funny love can be. The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale talk about love, marriage, and the roles of men and women.

Identity and Self-Image: Many of the characters in "The Canterbury Tales" have trouble figuring out who they are and what they think of themselves. Many of them write stories that show how they see themselves and what they want to do. For example, the Wife of Bath creates a persona that questions traditional gender roles, while the Pardoner hides his own moral flaws behind a mask of religious authority.

Irony and Ambiguity: Throughout the tale, Chaucer uses irony and ambiguity to give the themes and characters more depth and complexity. Irony is especially clear when people do things that go against their own jobs or morals. Hypocrisy and wrongdoing are best shown by the Pardoner and the Summoner.

Fate and Fortune: Some stories look at the idea of fate and fortune and say that people's lives can take unexpected turns. For example, The Physician's Tale shows how fate affects the lives of the people in the story.

Human Nature and Flaws: "The Canterbury Tales" tells a lot about how people are and what they do wrong. Characters have a wide range of good and bad traits, which makes them real and flawed. From the noble knight to the dishonest pardoner, Chaucer shows how complicated human behavior and psychology can be.

"The Canterbury Tales" is a work with a wide range of themes that both criticizes and praises the many different parts of medieval England. Through its many different characters and their stories, it shows how moral, social, and religious issues affected people at the time. It also shows how human experiences and problems are still relevant today.

Continued to Next Page 

Image (c)


More by :  Dr. Satish Bendigiri

Top | Literary Shelf

Views: 354      Comments: 0

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.