Humor, Irony, and Satire in The Canterbury Tales ©2014 WORLDWIDE HOCK A Character Map Chaucer Harry Bailey The Miller and the Knight John and Alison Nicolas and Absalom The Reeve Fabliaux Fabliaux "A fabliau is a brief comic tale in verse, usually scurrilous and often scatological or obscene. The style is simple, vigorous, and straightforward…the characters are ordinary sorts tradesmen, peasants, priests, students, restless wives; the plots are realistically motivated tricks and ruses. The fabliaux thus present a lively image of everyday life among the middle and lower classes. (The Riverside Chaucer 7) Fabliaux Genre: fabliau ("cherles tale"/l. 61 but "a legende and a lif"/l. 34) 1. Set in contemporary world, not the epic or heroic past 2. Characters lower class (peasants, clerks, laborers), not aristocratic 3. Stories involve sex, food, and money, not idealized love 4. Emphasis on cunning, duplicity, and folly, not virtue 5. Opposes and overturns authority and hierarchy “The true test of comedy is that it shall awaken thoughtful laughter.” -George Meredith The Comedic Ladder Low Comedy (Farce) High Comedy (Satire) Comedy of Manners Comedy of Ideas Romantic Comedy Inconsistencies of Character Verbal Wit Plot Device Physical Mishap Obscenity Irony The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect. Satire A kind of writing that ridicules human weaknesses, vice or folly, in order to bring about social reform. Canterbury Tales In what manner does Chaucer weave elements of literary humor to create “thoughtful laughter”?