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STUDY GUIDE FOR MEDIEVAL UNIT TEST: ENGLISH 4
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II.
Characteristics of the Middle Ages
 Age of Faith, belief in afterlife and in Purgatory
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Church corruption

Feudalism
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Emerging middle class

Chivalry as a code of conduct
Authors:
 Geoffrey Chaucer (~1343 – 1400)
o Social commentary: noting virtues and vices of the pilgrims
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III.
IV.
Sir Thomas Malory (~1405 – 1471)
Literary Analysis
 Direct Characterization (97)

Indirect Characterization (97)
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Allegory (122)
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Exemplum (122)
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Archetypal Narrative Elements (122)
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Frame (136)
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Setting (136)
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Medieval Romance (161)

Legends (161)
“The General Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales
 What happens to plants in the month of April?

What happens to birds and animals in April?

What happens to many people in April? Why?

Who is the martyr buried at Canterbury Cathedral?
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V.
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What is the name of the inn from which the pilgrims stay before leaving for the pilgrimage?
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Who owns this inn?
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Knight
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Squire
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Prioress
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Monk
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Friar
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Merchant
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Wife of Bath
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Parson
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Miller
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Pardoner
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Host: Harry Bailley
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Why does Chaucer say he must repeat each pilgrim’s tale as closely as he can remember it, even
if the tale is bad?

What are the two conditions of the tale-telling contest?

Who will be the judge?
“The Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale” (124)
 What is the genre of this story?
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What kind of man is the Pardoner, and how do we know?
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What does the phrase “Radix malorum est cupiditas” mean? (124)
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What is the problem at the beginning of this tale, and how do the main characters plan to solve
it?
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What distracts the men from their purpose? Why?
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VI.
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Whom does the Old Man say that he has never found?
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Where does the Old Man say that the men can find Death?
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What is ironic about the answer to the above question?
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Why do the men plan on killing each other?
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How do the men plan on killing each other?
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At the end of his tale, what does the Pardoner try to get the pilgrims to do?
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Why is this effort ironic?
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In what way is this tale an allegory?
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What are the archetypal narratives present in this tale?
“The Wife of Bath’s Tale”
 What was the name of the Wife’s fifth husband? (137)
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Why does the Wife bother to tell us that no more fairies roam the country anymore?
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What is the genre of the Wife’s tale?
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What is ironic about the way this genre is used by the Wife?
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What is the setting of this tale?
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What expectations do we have of a tale set in this king’s court? Why?
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What crime does the knight commit at the beginning of the tale?

Why is this ironic?
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Why does King Arthur allow his wife, Queen Guinevere, to be the judge of the knight’s crime?
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What test does she set for the knight?
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What is the purpose of telling the tale-within-a-tale about King Midas?
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Why is it ironic that this tale is told?
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Who gives the knight the answer to the question he needs answered?
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What does he promise to give in return?
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What three reasons does the knight give for not wanting to be married to his new wife?
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According to the Old Woman, what is true virtue and what is virtue not?
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How does the Old Woman defend the state of poverty?
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How does the Old Woman defend the state of being old and ugly?
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What two choices does the Old Woman give the knight?
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What choice does the knight make?
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VII.
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What happens as a result of the knight’s choice?
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What is the theme of this tale?
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What curse does the Wife of Bath make on husbands who won’t give their wives sovereignty?
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What is sovereignty?
from Morte d’Arthur (176)
 What is the genre of this story?
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Describe Arthur’s first dream? What does it signify/foreshadow?
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Describe Arthur’s second dream? What does it foreshadow?
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What does Arthur do in response to the second dream to avoid his death day?
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What happens on this day that suggests it may be Arthur’s destiny to die then?
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How many men are in Mordred’s army?
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Who is Mordred?
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At the end of the battle, how many men are left on each side? Who are they?

What decision does Arthur make at the end of the battle that suggests it was not destiny that he
die on that day?
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What is happening on the field after the great battle where so many men died?
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How do these circumstances affect Arthur’s decision regarding Excalibur?
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How do we know that Sir Lucan is loyal to Arthur?
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How many times does Arthur tell Sir Bedivere to throw Excalibur in to the lake?
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Why doesn’t Bedivere do this the first two times?
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How does Arthur know Bedivere hasn’t followed his orders?
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What happens when Bedivere does follow the orders the third time?
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Who comes for the dying Arthur?
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Whom does Bedivere meet in the woods?
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What important position did this man used to have?
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How does Bedivere prove his loyalty to Arthur at this point?
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What does HIC IAET ARTHURUS, REX QUONDAM, REXQUE FUTURUS mean?
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study guide for medieval unit test: english 4