Uploaded by Brantley Cooper

Chaucer and Satire

What do
you know
about life in
Some Background
The State – Those who ruled
◦ Land controlled by Kings and Queens through a
system called Feudalism.
◦ What does Feudalism sound like if you break
the word apart?
◦ Kings and Queens heavily relied on lords in order
to control large groups of people
◦ Peasants had minimal control over their own lives
The Church – Those who prayed
◦ Had the ability to tax, write laws, and subject ANYONE to various punishment.
◦ No break down in the church denominations, only the Catholic Church existed.
Church Hierarchy
◦ Bishops (Traditionally dressed like nobles with lavish and pretty clothes with fine jewels)
◦ Priests (Traditionally wore long black gowns, not wealthy and should not be wearing fine clothing)
◦ Monks (The brains of the organization. Could read and write in Latin. Traditionally in “poor” clothing and with a
shaved spot on their head)
◦ Nuns (Very “Holy” and lived in convent. Very modestly dressed in black / grey / white)
The Common
People – Those
who labor
• Life was determined by
the Agrarian Calendar
• Could own land and
become a Yeoman –
land owning peasant
(not a lord)
• Worked common jobs
as well as farmed.
The Canterbury Tales
◦ Written around 1350-1400CE by Geoffrey
◦ Contains 24 tales / stories that deal with
a range of subjects from fate to God’s
will to love, marriage, pride, and death
◦ Begins with a section titled The General
Prologue with the expectation of 120
total stories to follow, only 24 ever did.
Pilgrimage, but no Native Americans
◦ Story is set up as a Frame Story.
◦ What could a Frame story look like?
◦ Pilgrims are headed to the shrine for Sir Thomas A. Becket in Canterbury.
Steppin where they shouldn’t
◦ Becket was assassinated on 29
December 1170
◦ Becket was killed because he
excommunicated King Henry and the
bishops of Salisbury and London
◦ What do you think
excommunication means? Why
would it be taken so seriously?
Satire… not flat tire, not fat tire
What do you know about Satire? What does it sound
like? Are there anything examples you can think of when
it comes to satirical writing?
◦ Literary genre that uses humor, sometimes vicious – to ridicule foolish or corrupt people.
Modern Examples:
The Simpsons
South Park
Saturday Night Live
Work for now
◦ Organize the characters depicted in the "Prologue" based on social position
first, then on their morality. What seems to be Chaucer's opinion of the Clergy?
Of the other classes? Of women? Which characters does Chaucer seem to
esteem or criticize? What attributes do these characters have that Chaucer
appears to value or not?
◦ Take note of words you may not know. Write them down. Look up words that confuse you.
Write down their definitions.