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1) Do some research on Giovanni Boccaccio and Decameron and try to
relate that information to Geoffrey Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales
Giovanni Boccaccio (16 June 1313 – 21 December 1375) was an Italian
writer, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and an important Renaissance
humanist. Some scholars (including Vittore Branca) define him as the greatest
European prose writer of his time, a versatile writer who amalgamated
different literary trends and genres, making them converge in original works,
thanks to a creative activity exercised under the banner of experimentalism.
His most notable works are The Decameron, a collection of short stories
which in the following centuries was a determining element for the Italian
literary tradition.
The Decameron is structured with a frame story containing a hundred tales
told by a group of ten young men and women sheltering in a villa just outside
Florence to escape the Black Death, which had struck the city. 'Decameron'
combines two Greek words, deka ('ten') and heméra ('day'), to form a term that
means 'ten-day [event]'. The characters of the framing story tell their tales in a
ten day period. Each of the ten storytellers is king or queen for an evening,
during which time they can set the topic of the evening' tales, such as examples
of human willpower, or love stories that end tragically. Only Dioneo, who
usually tells the tenth tale each day, is, thanks to his wit, allowed to tell a tale
on any topic he wants. Each day also has a short introduction and a conclusion
to continue the framing device.
Even though the plot and subject matter are really different, there are also
many similarities between The Canterbury Tales and The Decameron by
Geoffrey Chaucer and Giovanni Boccaccio. Both of these stories are 14th
century stories and there are a lot of “borrowing” from some tales of
Boccaccio’s work by Chaucer in Canterbury Tales. There are at least three
similarities in these stories that can be noticed by the reader.
The similarities in each of these works of medieval literature that are
identified include both authors’ concern with representing the temporal setting
of the stories, the use of the frame story technique in both tales, and the
authors’ clever use of morality and its opposite in order to convey messages
and meaning about their society and time.
2) Do some research on what frame story is and relate it to The
Canterbury Tales.
Frame story is a story set within a story, narrative, or movie, told by the
main or the supporting character. A character starts telling a story to other
characters, or he sits down to write a story, telling the details to the audience.
This technique is also called a “frame narrative,” and is a very popular form of
literary technique employed in storytelling and narration.
Frame story usually is found in novels, plays, poems, television, films,
musicals, and opera. It is a unifying tale within which one or more related
stories appear. For instance, in Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus tells about his
wandering experience in the court of King Alcinous, or his visit to the island of a
In Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer has used frame narrative, bringing
different characters, each of whom tells a story. This pilgrimage frame story
brings together a number of storytellers, who appear with vivid personality
traits, and build up dramatic relationships with one another and with the tales
they tell. General Prologue is the section of this poem that deals with frame
The Canterbury Tales: ‘The Prologue’
3) Discuss the setting (time and place) for the events in ‘The Prologue’.
When and where do the various events take place?
A tavern and on a pilgrimage from London to Canterbury, England in the late
14th century.
-It is in the month of April, which the narrator describes as a time in England
where everything is being born again, and people want to take pilgrimages. It is
mentioned in the text that the narrator meet fellow pilgrims at the Tabard Inn
in Southwark. The prologue takes place the night before they start their
pilgrimage. They spent the night at the Tabard Inn and narrator examines and
details each pilgrim.-
4) Provide detailed information about the following characters by
focusing on their clothes, physical appearance, and personality traits:
The Knight, the Squire, the Monk, the Worthy Woman, the Parson and
the Pardoner.
The Knight: He is the first pilgrim and from ruling class. Chaucer
describes him as brave, experienced and prudent. He is also chivalrous,
truthful, honourable, loves action and adventure, believes in the ideals of
chivalry, he also have survived so many battles all over Europe so that makes
him an excellent fighter. From the text, “He possessed fine horses but was not
gaily dressed”. He wore a dark fustian tunic (coarse cloth) that had armour
stains. He is strong because he has endured many battles, is middle aged
because he has a 20 year old son.
The Squire: He is the son of the Knight. From the text “embroidered
like meadow bright...” Dressed in red and white, his gown was short, sleeves
long and wide. He has curly hair, average height, 20 years old. He is physically
fit, strong. He sings and plays the flute, likes poetry jousting, horse riding,
dancing. He fought on behalf of a lady and did well. He is respectful to his
father, hardworking and willing to take risks.
The Monk: He is wealthy and so he was wearing wealthy, fine furtrimmed robe, gold brooch. He is bald and fat. He likes to eat.
The Worthy Woman: She is The Wife of The Bath, is a middle class
seamstress. She is dressed in kerchiefs finely woven, red hose and new shoes.
She is deaf, has gapped teeth and large hips. She has a red face. She is bold,
argumentative, well-travelled, professional wife and very social.
The Parson: Clergy. He is dressed modest, poor. He is a hard working
church man who disliked extorting tithe. He practices what he preaches. Holy
and virtuous.
The Pardoner: Clergy. He pardons people’s sins for a donation to the
church. He carries a bag full of fake religious relics. He has a little cap on the
head, the hat has a pilgrim medal on it. He has cross on his wallet. He has long
greasy yellow hair and is beardless. He is a greedy fraud, shifty, keeps money
from blessings to himself, sneaky, untrustworthy, and dishonest. He read and
sang sermons well.
5) What is the contribution of the Host to the context of the frame story?
The Host has a major role over the frame story of The Canterbury Tales, since
it’s he who proposes the tale-telling game and directs it on the way to
Canterbury. The Host takes all his tales extremely seriously, becomes very
emotionally involved in them.
-The Host’s presence demonstrate that the main purpose of this pilgrimage lies
not so much in the devout religious act but in the fun that these tourists will
have along the way.-
6) What is significant about the end of ‘The Prologue’ in terms of the
frame story?
-Towards the end the Host proposes to the pilgrims to tell each other tales.
He says that he would judge the tales, and that if they play the game he has
invented, he swears by his dead father’s soul that they will be entertained.
They agree to it. So the next day on the road they start this game which is the
base of what frame story is “a story set within a story, told by the main or the
supporting character.”-
The Canterbury Tales: ‘The Pardoner’s Tale’
7) Make a list of the characters in the story and provide detailed
information (based on the text) about them.
The Three Rioters: The three protagonists of the Pardoner’s Tale. All three
indulge in and represent the vices against which the Pardoner has railed in his
Prologues: gluttony, drunkenness, gambling and swearing. These traits define
the three and eventually lead to their downfall.
The Old Man: In the Pardoner’s Tale, the three Rioters encounter a very
old man whose body is completely covered except for his face. Before the old
man tells the Rioters where they can find “Death,” one of the Rioters rashly
demands why the old man is still alive. The old man answers that he is doomed
to walk the earth for eternity. He has been interpreted as Death itself, or as
Cain, punished for fratricide by walking the earth forever; or as the Wandering
Jew, a man who refused to let Christ rest at his house when Christ proceeded
to his crucifixion, and who was therefore doomed to roam the world, through
the ages, never finding rest.
8) Discuss the setting (time and place) for the events in the story. When
and where do the various events take place?
Tale takes place in Flanders, in Belgium. It begins in a tavern. The Pardoner
uses the tavern setting as a discussion of the sins, drunkenness, lechery,
gambling, and blasphemous swearing. When he returns to his story about the
rioters, they're already at the bar, drunk, before 9 o'clock in the morning.
The setting shifts throughout the story. When they decide to kill Death the
setting changes to the road to a village. After they encounter an old man. Who
tells them that Death is up a path in a grove, it becomes the next setting.
9) What is the aim of the three rioters?
After finding a dead body of their friend, killed by Death and finding out all
the deaths Death has caused, they swear a pact of brotherhood and make a
plan to seek out and kill Death.
What is the pledge that the three rioters make and what is ironic
about that pledge when the end of the story is taken into
The three rioters swear a pact of brotherhood and make a plan to seek out
and kill Death so that he wouldn’t kill anyone, anymore. However, they pledge
trust and friendship to each other while harbouring treachery and betrayal in
their hearts. Also, they can't kill Death.
-They pledge to die for each other and stick together as brothers. “They
made their bargain, swore with appetite. / These three, to live and die for one
another/ As brother-born might swear to his born brother.” The story as a
whole is covered with layers with irony. The ironic part in the pledge was, the
rioters don’t try to protect each other. At the first chance they get (to profit
themselves separately) they plot against each other. The two older men plan to
stab the younger so they can split the gold, and the youngest plans to poison
the older men so he can have it all for himself. Basically once they discover the
treasure, they no longer seek death. And so on the road they pledge to protect
each other and kill death they were out witted by Death himself.-
What is the conflict between the three rioters and the old man?
How is it resolved?
The three rioters encounters the old man on the way to find Death. They
treat him rudely and ask him why he is so old he tells them its not his time yet.
They accuse him for being a spy for Death and threaten him to point where the
Death is. “And you’re his spy, by God! You wait a bit./Say where he is or you
shall pay for it,” The old man tells where he is, he directs them to Death.
“Well, sirs,” he said, “if it be your design
To find out Death, turn up this crooked way
Towards that grove, I left him there today
Under a tree, and there you’ll find him waiting.
He isn’t one to hide for all your prating.
You see that oak? He won’t be far to find.
And God protect you that redeemed mankind,
Aye, and amend you!” Thus that ancient man.
What is the plan of the each rioter to get the gold? Does each
rioter achieve his aim, why / why not?
Two rioters sent the young rioter away after drawing straws to buy
equipment and drinks. While he was gone, the other two plan to stab him
when he is to return and split the gold. However, the young rioter buys wine
and poisons it. His plan is to return and poison the other two so that he can
have all the gold for himself. When he returns he is stabbed to death, and the
other two take the poisoned wine to celebrate their success. They die from the
poison. So in the end no one achieved their aim.
What is the message of the story?
The pardoner is a fake and a greedy lecher who is extremely inappropriate to
be giving the sermon. He does not abide by the rules of the clergy yet he is
preaching against the sins of greed. The clear message in The Pardoner’s Tale is
that greed is the root of all evil, as it is stated by pardoner.
Discuss the possible reasons why the Pardoner tells this
particular story?
The Pardoner tells his moral stories not to help sinners but to help himself.
He's greedy and wishes to scare people into buying his indulgences and relics.
-Chaucer’s intent is to bring light to the motives of the corrupted men of
church. The Pardoner is a hypocrite and is an example of a man who does not
“practice what he preaches”. Chaucer wanted his readers to see not all men of
church who claim to be good and honest are what say they are.15)
Discuss how the story reflects the values of the middle ages.
In Pardoner’s Tale author criticize the middle age value of religion. Geoffrey
Chaucer satirizes the pardoner by describing how emasculate his appearance
was by comparing him to a castrated male horse. People of the middle ages
were very gullible so they believed pardoners will free them of their sins.
However, the pardoner in this story was rather corrupt. He took the huge part
of the money the church desired in order to better their community. Religion
was an important aspect of the middle ages.
1) Please read pages 7 for allegory and 201 for morality play from A
Glossary of Literary Terms by M. H. Abrams and Geoffrey Galt
Allegory is a narrative in which the agents, actions and setting are contrived
by the author to make coherent sense on the literal, or primary, level of
signification, and at the same time to communicate a second, correlated order
of signification.
Morality plays were dramatized allegories of a representative Christian life
in the plot form of a quest for salvation. The crucial events are temtations,
sinning and the climactic confrontation with death.
1) Make a list of the characters in the play and provide detailed
information (based on the text) about them.
Messenger: The first character to appear. The Messenger has no role within
the story of the play itself, but simply speaks the prologue outlining what the
play will be like.
God: Appears only at the very beginning of the play. Angry with the way
humans are behaving on Earth, he criticizes Everyman’s sinfulness and his
ungrateful disregard of Christ’s sacrifice for humanity, God summons Death to
visit Everyman and call him to account.
Death: God's "mighty messenger", who visits Everyman at the very start of
the play to inform him that he is going to die and be judged by God.
Everyman: The representative of mankind in general. He dresses in fine
clothes, and seems to have had led a wild and sinful life. Throughout the course
of the play, he is told that he is going to die (and therefore be judged) and
undergoes a pilgrimage in which he absolves himself of sin, is deserted by all of
his friends apart from good deeds, and dies.
Good Deeds: The only character who does not forsake Everyman - and at
the end of the play, accompanies him to his grave. Good Deeds represents
Everyman's good actions - nice things that he does for other people.
Knowledge: Guides Everyman from around the middle of the play, and
leads him to Confession. 'Knowledge' is perhaps best defined as
'acknowledgement of sin'.
Angel: Appears at the very end of the play with Everyman's Book of
Reckoning to receive Everyman's soul.
Doctor: Delivering the play’s epilogue, the doctor summarizes the moral of
the story: we can only rely on our good deeds for comfort and salvation, and
we must clear our “reckonings” while we are still alive, lest we suffer eternally
in hell.
2) Discuss the setting (time and place) for the events in the play. When
and where do the various events take place?
The play begins in Heaven when God sends Death to summon the main
character, Everyman. After that the setting is basically Earth.
3) What is the major conflict in the play? Is it external or inner conflict?
The conflict between good and evil (moral conflict) is the major conflict, it is
an inner conflict. Dramatized by the interactions between characters,
Everyman is being singled out because it is difficult for him to find characters to
accompany him on his pilgrimage. Everyman eventually realizes through this
pilgrimage that he is essentially alone, despite all the personified characters
that were supposed necessities and friends to him. Everyman learns that when
you are brought to death and placed before God all you are left with is your
own good deeds.
4) What are the reasons for the major conflict?
The whole of Everyman consists of dramatic conflict and abstract argument
as Everyman struggles for his soul. Everyman has to remain strong in the mind
in order to make the right decisions.
5) What happens to Everyman throughout the play? What is his aim?
Relate these events to the conventions of morality play?
Death warns Everyman that he will be judged by God when he dies.
Terrified, Everyman turns to Fellowship, but his friends desert him. Everyman
then turns to his Good Deeds, but they have been weakened by his sins.
Everyman eventually arrives in Heaven with the help of his other attributes, but
he learns that only his Good Deeds will come with him. He'll be judged by his
actions alone.
Everyman is a morality play, which details the life and death of the
allegorical Everyman, who embodies all of humanity and allegorical characters
such as “fellowship” and “knowledge”. Morality plays contain a protagonist
who represents either humanity as a whole or a smaller social structure, in this
play it is Everyman. Supporting characters are personifications of good and evil,
most of the morality plays focus on evil but Everyman focuses on good.
6) What is the message of the play? How can you relate it the function of
morality play?
The message is firstly that one cannot enter heaven with earthly goods
when one dies - these have no value and are left behind. Secondly, only the
good that one does can bear witness to one's grace at Judgement, and thirdly,
one should do penance and seek forgiveness for one's sins before entering the
Kingdom of Heaven.
Everyman uses abstract qualities like Good Deeds, Knowledge as characters.
It is a kind of personification. It upholds the teachings of church and
Christianity. It allegorizes many virtues and is didactic in tone. The tone is
clearly moral and religious. All those things are virtues that can be converted
into assets and liabilities to help change one’s spiritual state. Everyman
allegorically stands for every Christian and urges them to live a virtuous life to
get salvation.
7) Discuss how the events in the play reflect the values of the Middle
Middle Ages are a period when religion occupied the central place in lives
of the people. The drama of the period dealt with religious themes to
disseminate messages of Christianity and it informed people of their position in
the world. To teach these religious and moral lessons the play wrights used the
literary device called allegory through which religious themes were dramatized
indirectly. Everyman is a typical period play within these explanations.
1) Define what Renaissance is and make a list of its major characteristics.
Renaissance is a French word meaning rebirth. It was both a period in
history and an artistic movement. It developed gradually in Italy during 14th and
15th centuries and spread across Europe. It came to an end towards the end of
the 16th century with the Mannerist style. This period marked the end of the
Middle Ages and the star of modern times.
The most important feature of the Renaissance is intellectual rebirth or
regeneration. It conveys the idea that for centuries. Europe had been dead
intellectually and then by some means, had recovered life. The rebirth or
regeneration came to Italy first and then to other European countries.
Freedom of thought and action is another important feature of the
Renaissance. An awakening of the minds of men, freedom of thought, and
action were the dominant passions of the Renaissance.
Thirst for knowledge is another important feature of the Renaissance. It
was an age of great curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Man desire to know the
unknown and to see the unseen.
Scientific Outlook: During the Renaissance period, the European
explorers and scientists contributed significantly to the development of inquiry.
Humanism is another important feature of the Renaissance. During the
Elizabethan age, there was the revival of classical learning which passion
became with the people. The rediscovery of Greek and Roman antiquity gave
birth to a new culture and that is called Humanism.
Love for adventure: The age Renaissance was an age of great curiosity
and love for adventure. During this age, the people show their love for
adventure. In the 15th century, Columbus reached America and Vasco da Gama
reached India. This kind of love for adventure influences the Renaissance
Love for beauty is another feature of the Renaissance. Here beauty
signifies the beauty of culture, the beauty of the civilized world the beauty of
women, and so on. We notice this kind of love for beauty in Renaissance
The desire for unlimited power and wealth is another important feature of
the Renaissance. England’s trade and Commerce improved and the country
grew rich and prosperous. Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is one of the
best examples of the Renaissance play in which the hero sold his soul to Lucifer
only to get earthly wealth and power.
2) Do some research on significance of Florence regarding the emergence of
The Renaissance is considered to have begun in the city-states such as,
Florence, Milan, Rome, Naples, Genoa and Venice. Florence is of the most
significant city-states from the Renaissance in Italy. It is often named as the
birthplace of the Renaissance. The early writers and artist of the period sprung
from this city.
Florence was very prosperous during the Renaissance. There were many
guilds that were very successful in Florence. The textile guild was very powerful.
Florence became a very wealthy city because of the trade of textiles, especially
the trade of wool. The workers took untreated and unfinished wool from other
places and worked it into high quality wool that was sold in many places. As the
city prospered economically, it was not only the government but also the
wealthy families that invested money in art, adorning the city’s churches and
cathedrals. So the city became a place where artists can thrive.
3) What are the developments that contribute to the age of explorations?
The Age of Exploration was rooted in new technologies and ideas growing
out of the Renaissance, these included advances in cartography, navigation,
and shipbuilding. The most important development was the invention of first
the Carrack and then caravel in Iberia.
First, European countries were seeking new trade routes to distant trading
partners in the Far East, including: China, India and Japan.
A second reason for the beginning of the Age of Exploration was the rise of
absolute monarchies in Europe. The powerful monarchs of Europe had
centralized the authority and wealth of each country and used their vast wealth
to fund the expeditions of many explorers.
Third, Europeans had made some dramatic improvements in their
navigational skill and technology that allowed early explorers to travel further
and more accurately at sea.
The final reason for why the Age of Exploration began is because Europeans
of the time were interested in foreign cultures and goods. In general, the
Renaissance in Europe caused an expansion of new ideas and new
understandings of the world. Europeans were interested in learning about
these new ideas and expanding on their worldviews.
4) What are the reasons for the Protestant Reformation? What are its
impacts on England?
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the
Wittenberg Castle Church, thus marking the beginning of the Protestant
Reformation. This movement permanently divided Western Christendom.
The abandonment of Rome by the Popes, the period of schism, known as
the Great Schism, produced several rival claimants to the papacy. The seesaw
battle between popes and anti-popes gradually weakened the idea of the pope
as a central spiritual authority in the minds of Christians.
The rise of nationalism, the hundred years war between England and France
(1337-1453), which ended with the campaigns of Joan Arc and her successors,
only “enhanced national feeling”, and thus weakened the religious bond that
had previously held together Christians throughout Western Europe.
The Black Death, in 1342-1350, plague broke out in Europe. By the time it
was over, somewhere between 30-60% of Europe’s population was dead.
Plague had not only shaken the physical and political structure of European
society. It had begun to effect the faith itself.
The decline of Latin, with the rise of nationalism had also given rise to a
growing preference for local speech. In addition, the Renaissance had brought
about a recovery of the classics and especially a recovery of the knowledge of
Greek. The excitement about the new, secular learning, combined with the
growing preference for non-Latin languages, further eroded the bond of faith
between Western European Christians.
Corruption in the Church, the spiritual authority of the pope and his
hierarchy was also undermined by the growing wealth of the Church. The
endowments of the Church were very large, and corruption, both in monastic
establishments and among the seculars, was increasing.
5) Discuss the significant developments that took place during the reigns of
Henry VII and Henry VIII.
The first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, inherited an England that had been
depleted and exhausted by years of civil war. By the time he had died in 1509,
he had rebuilt the nation’s treasury and established law and order. In doing so,
he had restored the prestige of the monarchy and had set the stage for
Like his father, Henry VIII was a practicing Catholic. He even wrote a book
against Luther, for which a grateful Pope granted him the title “Defender of the
Faith.” Henry’s marriage with Catherine of Aragon had not produced a son, and
so he tried to obtain an annulment from the Pope so that he could marry Anne
Boleyn but the Pope refused. Henry married anyway. This defiance of papal
authority led to an open break with the Roman Catholic Church. Under the Act
of Supremacy (1534), the king assumed full control of the Church in England
and severed all ties with Rome. Henry became supreme head of the new
Church of England (or Anglican Church). Although the Protestant Reformation
was not directly responsible For Henry’s break with Rome. It helped to pave the
way. Henry used ruthless measures to suppress opposition among monks,
friars, and a few others. He even had his former friend and leading advisor,
Thomas More, executed, because More had refused to renounce his faith.
6) Discuss the significant developments that took place during the reigns of
Edward VI and Mary I.
Henry VII’s son, Edward VI, became king at the age of nine and died at the
age of fifteen. During his brief reign, a series of parliamentary acts were
instituted that dramatically changed the nation’s religious practices. English
replaced Latin in church ritual, and the Anglican prayer book, or Book of
Common Prayer, became required in public worship. By Edward’s death in
1553, England was well on its way to becoming a Protestant nation. After his
death, his half-sister, Mary, took the throne.
Mary I was herself Catholic, and she restored the Roman practices to the
Church of England. She also restored the authority of the Pope over the
powerful Spanish state. Many people found these acts unpatriotic. People was
also disturbed by Mary’s violent repression of Protestants. She earned the nick
name Bloody Mary after ordering the execution of 200 Protestants.
7) Discuss the significant developments that took place during the reign of
Elizabeth I.
After Mary I’s death, her half-sister, Elizabeth I, came to the throne. She
would be the last of the Tudors, dying unmarried and childless, after a long
successful reign. Since William the Conqueror, Elizabeth was probably
England’s ablest monarch. She received a Renaissance education and read
widely in the Greek and Latin classics. Many of the era’s greatest literary works
bear a dedication to the queen, and word Elizabethan has come to signify the
English Renaissance at its height. She also put an end to the religious turmoil
that had existed during Mary I’s reign. She re-established the monarch’s
supremacy in the Church of England and restored the Book of Common Prayer,
and she instituted a policy of religious moderation that enjoyed great popular
support. The biggest problem Elizabeth had was her cousin Mary Stuart, Queen
of Scotland, by birth and (as granddaughter of Henry VII) next in line for the
throne of England. Because Catholics did not recognized the marriage between
Anne Boleyn and Henry VII, Elizabeth’s parents, they considered Mary the
queen of England. For nineteen years, Mary was in England as a prisoner of
Elizabeth, while she was there she became the center of numerous Catholic
plots against Elizabeth. While punishing the plotters, Elizabeth let her loyal
cousin live. Finally, however, a court convicted Mary of plotting to murder
Elizabeth. Mary went to the block in 1587, a Catholic martyr. Her famous motto
“In my end is my beginning,” took on new meaning when her death led Catholic
Spain to declare war on England.
8) What are the reasons for the conflict between Elizabeth I and Mary
After Mary’s husband Francis II, the King of France, died in 1561, she
returned to Scotland with hopes of taking the English throne by coup. In 1567,
Mary’s subjects assassinated her husband Darnley. In 1568, the Scots drove
Mary out of power. Elizabeth was horrified at the idea that the common people
might revolt against their ruler. Elizabeth, fearing that Mary might go abroad
and raise an army, and also afraid that the people of Scotland might lock her
up, acted quickly to imprison her nemesis in Lochleven Castle, from which Mary
successfully plotted her escape. Several plots against Elizabeth were discovered
in the following years. This all happened because Mary Stuart wanted to claim
the throne.
9) Discuss the significance of the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
By fending off the Spanish fleet, the island nation saved itself from invasion
and won recognition as one of Europe's most fearsome sea powers. The clash
also established the superiority of heavy cannons in naval combat, signalling
the dawn of a new era in warfare at sea.
10) Discuss the significant developments that took place during the reign of
James I.
Elizabeth I named Scotland’s King James VI as her successor, before she
died. James’s claim to the throne rested on his descent from King Henry VII
through his mother, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth’s old antagonist. Unlike Mary,
however, James was a Protestant.
The years of new King of England, James I, are described as the Jacobean
era, From Jacobus, the Latin word for James. James took measures to further
England’s position as a world power, sponsoring the establishment of England’s
first successful American colony, Jamestown, Virginia.
During his reign, a conflict began developing that would later erupt into war.
He and parliament became involved in a power struggle, quarrelling over taxes
and foreign wars. James I also persecuted the Puritans, who were strongly
presented in the House of Commons. Prompted by James’s religious
intolerance, a group of puritans migrated to America, and established the
Plymouth Colony in 1621.
1) Please read pages 124-127 regarding the background to Sir Thomas More
& pages 133-138 of your course pack regarding Utopia and on your
notebooks answer the following questions by providing specific examples
from the text:
Discuss the attitude of the Utopians to war, army, victory and the
various strategies they put into practice before, during and after the
Utopians hate war, regarding it as inhuman, something not practiced by any
wild beasts. What is often called the glory achieved in war seems to them
inglorious. However, they train constantly in the disciplines of war, both men
and women, to be ready for anything. For them the causes for engage in war
are: first, to defend their country; second, to defend their friend; and, third, to
deliver a weak nation from oppression or tyranny.
In battle they do not seek to gain victory through great bloodshed but
prefer to overcome the enemy through strategy. Once war has been declared,
they circulate leaflets through the enemy's country, offering a huge reward to
anyone who kills the king or other leaders, aiming by that means to sow
suspicion and dissension through the nation.
They prefer not to use their own citizens in battle unless their own country
is invaded, and in such an event they employ only volunteers.
2) Please read pages 336-337 for the sonnet and the sonnet cycle from A
Glossary of Literary Terms by M. H. Abrams and Geoffrey Galt Harpham
and write down their conventions.
Sonnet: A lyric poem consisting of a single stanza of fourteen iambic
pentameter lines linked by an intricate rhyme scheme. (Refer to meter and
rhyme.) There are two major patterns of rhyme in sonnets written in the
English language:
The Italian or Petrarchan sonnet: This fall into two main parts, an octave (eight
lines) rhyming abbaabba followed by a sestet (six lines) rhyming cdecde or
some variant, such as cdccdc.
The English sonne or Shakespearean sonnet: This sonnet falls into three
quatrains and a concluding couplet: abab cdcd efef gg. There was a notable
wariant, the Spenserian sonnet, in which Spenser linked each quatrain to the
next by a continuing rhyme: abab bcbc cdcd ee.
A number of Elizabethan authors arranged their poems into sonnet sequences,
or sonnet cycles, in which a series of sonnets are linked together by exploring
the varied aspects of a relationship that constitutes a kind of implicit plot.
Please read the following sonnets: “Rima 134” by Francesco Petrarca
(Petrarch), “Whoso List to Hunt” by Sir Thomas Wyatt, “Sonnet 31” by
Sir Philip Sidney, “Sonnet 75” by Edmund Spenser, “Sonnet 116” and
“Sonnet 130” by William Shakespeare.
On your notebooks write down the major themes, conflicts and the
resolution of the conflicts that are treated in these works.
Rima 134
Based on the persona’s love that is unreciprocated by his beloved, the Poet
illustrates in this sonnet, an internal conflict in the persona. The wholly bitter
tone establishes a holistically integrating theme of being torn apart for love and
also an atmosphere of histrionic resentment engorged with Petrarch’s
hyperbolized emotions.
Whoso List to Hunt
This poem is about love; its speaker describes love as a desperate and violent
pursuit, in which a man attempts to hunt down the woman he loves. This
pursuit has failed, so the speaker spends the poem explaining why he is giving
up the hunt. The theme is unrequited love, but it’s not exactly romantic.
Poet describes a hunt wherein a deer is pursued and ultimately owned by the
royal who owns the land. Scholars generally believe that the poem is an
allegory referring to Anne Boleyn’s courtship by King Henry VIII, such that when
poet speaks of the deer as royal property not to be hunted by others, he is
acknowledging that Anne has become the property of the King alone. The poet,
Sir Thomas Wyatt, was said to have been interested in Anne and may have been
her lover but would have to withdraw as a suitor after the King made clear his
wish to claim her.
Sonnet 31
The poet immortalizes his lost friends and lovers in his poetry. The poet
thought his dead friends and lovers were lost forever to him when he cried at
their funerals, but his poem is a grave that lets him keep them alive. The love
his friends felt for him, and the love he felt for his friends, now live in his
poetry. His poem is where their love for each other resides. So his conflict is the
death of loved ones and the resolution is this sonnet.
Sonnet 75
The theme of this sonnet is that no one lives forever, but his lady’s virtues and
their love for each other will be immortalized forever in the poem. The poet
wants to immortalize his lover by writing her name in the sand, but it would
wash away, and so he resolves this with writing his love in his poems so they
will be eternalized.
Sonnet 116
This sonnet’s theme is the transcendent nature of true love and how it
overcomes any barriers or obstructions. True love does not change or alter with
the passing of time, or with the fading of beauty and youth. In this sonnet, poet
describes the conflict between a passionate love compared to a logical love;
more specifically the sonnet argues that a love that is true will not only be a
guiding force in one’s life but will also stand the test of time. Poet does not
attempt to come to any significant conclusion because no resolution is needed.
Sonnet 130
The main theme of this sonnet is that his love for his mistress does not depend
on telling lies about her. His love is more real than a love that needs to do
those things. There isn’t a traditional conflict, rather, sonnet satirizes typical
romantic poetry of the time. We can say that the conflict in the sonnet is that
the woman being described does not measure up to these elevated standarts
of beauty, but poet presents the idea in a clearly satirical way.
Discuss how these poems reflect the values of the Renaissance period.
Discuss how these poems challenge the values of the Medieval period.
Discuss how these poems demonstrate the conventions of the sonnet as
a literary genre.
Please read pages 214-215, 266-267 from Prentice Hall Literature: The
English Tradition and about the Elizabethan Drama and Theater. On
your notebooks write down the names and the works of major
dramatists and the characteristics of the Elizabethan stage.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
1590 - King Henry VI
1591 - Henry VI
1592 - The Comedy of Errors
1594 - The Two Gentlemen of Verona ,
1595 - Romeo and Juliet
1595 - A Midsummer Night's Dream
1596 - Merchant of Venice
1599 - Julius Caesar
1599 - As You Like it
1601 - Hamlet
1602 - All`s Well That Ends Well
1604 - Othello
1605 - King Lear
1606 - Macbeth
1606 - Antony and Cleopatra
1607 - Timor of Athens
Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
The Alchemist
Sejanus His Fall
Every Man out of His Humour
Every Man in His Humour
Francis Beaumont (1584-1616)
The Woman Hater (1606)
The Coxcomb (1608–10)
The Captain (1609–12)
Cupids Revenge (1611)
The Scornful Ladie (1613–17)
Loves Pilgrimage (1616)
There was this group called University Wits they were a group of
Elizabethan playwrights. The university wits were a group of oxford and
Cambridge university scholar Shakespearean University Dramatists are known
as the university wits before Shakespeare it was the earliest stage of the
development of Drama as a popular. The University wits were a group of seven
These University men were usually actors as well as Dramatists. This
group contributed to establish the Elizabethan theatre. They popularized the
form of Drama.
Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)
Dr. Faustus
King Edward
The Jew of Malta
The Massacre at parish
Dido Queen of cartage
George Peele(1558-1597)
Edward 1
The old wives
The Love of King David
Robert Greene (1558-1592)
The Scottish History of James 4
The History of orlando Furioso
A looking Glass for London and England
The Comicall History of Alphonus King of Aragon
John Lily (1554-1606)
Alexander and Campaspe
Thomas Kyd (1558-1594)
Aplology for actor
The tragedy of solyman and person
Thomas Lodge (1567-1601)
The Wounds of civil war
A Looking glass for London & England
Thomas Nashe(1558-1625)
The Unfortunate traveller Jack woillson
Dido Queen of cartage and summers
Last will and testament
Characteristics of Elizabethan Dramatist:
1. Tragedy must end in some tremendous catastrophe involving in Elizabethan
practice the death of the principal character.
2. The catastrophe must not be the result of mere accident, but must be
brought about by some essential trait in the character of the hero acting either
directly or through its effect on other persons.
3. The hero must nevertheless have in him something which outweighs his
defects and interests us in him so that we care for his fate more than for
anything else in the play.
Characteristics of Elizabethan Age:
First, Elizabethans were prolific in their writing. Plays, poems, pamphlets,
treatises, and other works were created in abundance, widely circulated, and
freely read and discussed.
Second, Elizabethans returned with gusto to the classics of Greek and
Latin and made them their own. As part of the Renaissance movement,
Elizabethan writers delved into the history and mythology of the classical past
and created new works that explored and adapted classic themes.
Third, at the same time, Elizabethans dared to reach out in new
directions, into the world of romanticism, where they plunged into the
adventures, wonders, and beauties of the supernatural and the natural world.
Fourth, Elizabethans developed their scholarly side as well. Many of
them, including the queen herself, worked on translating the classics of Greek
and Latin into English to make them more widely accessible.
Fifth, the Elizabethans were an independent lot. They may have borrowed
from the classics, but they used what they borrowed in new and creative ways.
Please read pages 232-235 from Prentice Hall Literature: The English
Tradition and for the excerpt from The Tragical History of the Life and
Death of Doctor Faustus. On your notebooks answer the following
1) Who is Dr. Faustus and what is the major conflict that he experiences
at this point in the play?
Dr Faustus is a well-respected German scholar. He isn’t satisfied with the
limits of traditional forms of knowledge, medicine, logic, religion and law, and
decides that he wants to learn to practice magic.
The major conflict in the play, Doctor Faustus, can be found within the
character of Faustus. He willingly sells his soul to the devil, and yet, he comes to
fear the fate he has set for himself. The desire to change his mind to repent, is
2) Discuss the particular setting (time and place) for the events in the
play? Provide specific examples from the text.
3) What does Dr. Faust want, does he achieve his aim, why/why not?
Discuss by referring to events in the play.
Intro of the play says “Early in the play, Dr. Faustus, the main character,
contracts his soul to the devil for special powers of the mind. Now, facing
death, he makes a desperate attempt to repent and save his soul.”
So his aim was to have special powers of the mind but his contract ends and
with that the Devil, Lucifer, comes to take him to hell.
4) How does Dr. Faustus feel at the end of the play? Discuss by referring
to the play.
On the final night of his life, Faustus is overcome by fear and remorse. He
begs for mercy, but it is too late. The clock strikes midnight and a group of
devils enter Faustus' study to claim his soul.
He concludes his soliloquy by recognizing the fact that he is still a creature
with a soul and is doomed to spend eternity in hell. He then curses his parents
for having him, but quickly takes it back and decides to curse himself and
Lucifer, who "hath deprived thee of the joys of heaven".
5) Relate the play to the values of the Renaissance period. Provide specific
examples from the text.
Humanist scholars of the Renaissance refocused their studies on the
individual human subject, while the Protestant reformation affirmed the
individual's prerogative to interpret scripture instead of relying on the pope
and the hierarchical Catholic Church. A flourishing of education and other social
changes made it more and more possible for people to rise up through society
through their own hard work and ambition. Faustus embodies many of these
changes: he is a self-made man, from humble origins, who has risen through
education. He is ambitious and constantly desires to learn and know more
about the world through various forms of scholarly inquiry. But Faustus also
demonstrates some possible dangers in the Renaissance stress on one's own
individual self. Renaissance notion of the power and importance of the
individual and the Christian stress on obeying God fills and animates Doctor
Please read pages 240 for pastoral poetry from A Glossary of Literary
Terms by M. H. Abrams and Geoffrey Galt Harpham and on your
notebooks write down its conventions.
Pastoral: a deliberately conventional poem expressing an urban poet’s
nostalgic image pf the supposed peace and simplicity of the life of shepherds
and other rural folk in an idealized natural setting. The pastoral convention
sometimes uses the device of “singing matches” between two or more
shepherds, and it often presents the poet and his friends in the disguises of
shepherds and shepherdesses. Themes include, notably, love and death
Please read “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher
Marlowe and “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” by Sir Walter
Raleigh. On your notebooks write down the major points that make
these two works examples for pastoral and anti-pastoral poetry,
“The Passionate Shepherd to His love” is a celebration of love, innocence,
youth, and poetry. Since the traditional image of shepherds is that they are
innocent and accustomed to living an idyllic setting, the purpose of such a
pastoral poem is to idealize the harmony, peace and simplicity of the
shepherd’s life.
“The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” revolve around a central unified
argument of realism or pessimism over idealistic naivety. This poem is some
kind of a refutation of the other one. There are three major points poem
indicates: love is not enough to survive, rural life is so much more difficult
that pastoral poetry idealize and youth and pleasures are fleeting.