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Chaucer is considered the father of English literature and the first great secular poet.

his dialect of his native London gradually


became standard English, becoming the basis of modern English. his masterpiece The Canterbury Tales, he was able to give a portrait
of the English society of his time. Chaucer's works are generally divided into three periods: French, Italian and English. The French
period is so called because it includes poems modeled on the styles and themes of French romanticism. The Italian period shows a
greater maturity of perception and skill in the manipulation of the counters, for example we will see Troilus and Criseyde (ca 1380-
85), a long poem adapted by Boccaccio. The English period is characterized by greater realism and includes Chaucer's most famous
work, The Canterbury Tales (1387-1400 ca.).

Chaucer è considerato il padre della letteratura inglese e il primo grande poeta secolare. il suo dialetto della sua nativa Londra,
divenne gradualmente l'inglese standard, diventando così la base dell'inglese moderno. il suo capolavoro The Canterbury Tales, è
stato in grado di dare un ritratto della società inglese del suo tempo. Le opere di Chaucer sono generalmente divise in tre periodi: il
francese, l'italiano e l'inglese. Il periodo francese è così chiamato perché include poesie modellate sugli stili e sui temi del
romanticismo francese. Il periodo italiano mostra una maggiore maturità di percezione e abilità nella manipolazione dei contatori per
esempio vedremo Troilus e Criseyde (ca 1380-85), una lunga poesia adattata da Boccaccio. Il periodo inglese è caratterizzato da un
maggiore realismo e comprende l'opera più famosa di Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (1387-1400 ca.).

The Canterbury Tales


Plot (trama) Plot (trama)
The Canterbury Tales is set in tells the story The Canterbury tales racconta la storia di trenta persone
of thirty people – men, women, monks and other -uomini,donne,monaci e altri membri del clero, artigiani
members of the clergy, artisans, merchants and mercanti, e anche il narratore stesso Chauser che stanno
also the narrator, Chaucer himself – andando in pelligrinaggio. Stanno viaggiando nel
who are going on a pilgrimage. Canterbury nel Kent fino al santuario di Thomas Becket
They are travelling to Canterbury in Kent to
the shrine of Thomas Becket

Structure and style Structure and style


The work consists of a 'General Prologue', where L'opera consiste in un "Prologo generale", in cui vengono
the pilgrims are introduced, and twenty-four tales. introdotti i pellegrini, e in ventiquattro storie. I racconti sono
The tales are usually preceded by a prologue, which generalmente preceduti da un prologo, che introduce il tema
introduces the theme of the tale, and are sometimes del racconto, e talvolta sono seguiti da un epilogo. Sono narrati
followed by an epilogue. They are narrated by the da diversi pellegrini,ma riferisce che il pellegrino è lo stesso
different pilgrims but reporting pilgrim is Chaucer himself. Chaucer.Ci dice direttamente o talvolta ironicamente cosa vede
He tells us directly or sometimes ironically what he sees e cosa ne pensa .Questo crea una sorta di interazione tra reale e
and what he thinks about it. This creates sort of interplay irreale in modo che il lettore sia lasciato a decidere se ciò che
between real and unreal so that the reader is left to decide sta leggendo è vero o no. I racconti hanno spesso elementi
whether what he/she is reading is true or not. The tales often realistici, ma in quasi tutti i casi hanno una forte base ideale
have realistic elements, but in almost every case they have e moralizzante.
a strong ideal and moralising base.

Setting Setting
The pilgrimage provides a dynamic frame. There is no logical Il pellegrinaggio offre una cornice dinamica. Non esiste un
order of events or explicit hierarchy of values, ordine logico di eventi o una gerarchia esplicita di valori, ma
but all remains in flux and on the road. The point of departure, tutto rimane in evoluzione e sulla strada. Il punto di partenza,
London, is very human and linked to worldly pleasures, Londra, è molto umano e legato ai piaceri mondani, mentre la
while the destination, Canterbury, is holý. A Canterbury is the destinazione, Canterbury, è holý. A Canterbury è il simbolo
symbol of the celestial city itself, the end of life, and the journey della stessa città celeste, la fine della vita, e il viaggio dei
of the pilgrims becomes an allegory of the course of human life. Pellegrini diventa un'allegoria del corso della vita umana.

Characters Characters
Chaucer wanted to give a portrait of English society, Chaucer voleva fare un ritratto della società inglese,compresi i
including representatives of feudal society, members of rappresentanti della società feudale, i membri del clero e le
the clergy and the middle classes. The descriptions of the classi medie. Le descrizioni dei pellegrini variano in lunghezza
pilgrims vary in length, point of view and tone; some emphasise punto di vista e tono; alcuni sottolineano ciò che indossa il
what the pilgrim wears, some what he/she does or thinks. pellegrino,altri ciò che fa o pensa.Chaucer ha elencato e descritto
Chaucer listed and described tools, clothes and personal qualities. strumenti, vestiti e qualità personali.

Themes Themes
The main theme is that of the journey in the form of pilgrimage. Il tema principale è quello del viaggio sotto forma di
The pilgrimage is set in the calendar of seasons as well as in that pellegrinaggio. Il pellegrinaggio è ambientato nel calendario
of religion. Delle stagioni e in quello della religione.
The prioress
Chaucer describes the Prioress as a charming and elegant lady. She is named Eglantyne. She has a broad forehead, perfect nose, blue-
grey eyes and a small mouth. Her smile is simple and shy. Her appearance conforms to the contemporary ideal of beauty. She can
sing the divine service very well with a pleasant nasal intonation and can speak French elegantly. She is obviously a lady who has not
forgotten her aristocratic past. She tries to imitate courtly manners, which is clear in her careful table manners. Her tender heart
makes her cry at the sight of dead or bleeding mice caught in a trap. She is fond of animals and feeds her dogs with roasted meat and
expensive fine bread. Chaucer criticises the Prioress by praising her very faults ironically. He insists on outward behaviour because
he wants to emphasise the gap between the behaviour expected of a nun and the Prioress's behaviour. Her kindness to her pet dogs is
seen as a weakness. Her charity should extend towards people in need rather than animals. As a nun sne should strictly follow the
rules of simplicity and poverty. However, she wears jewellery as she has a red-coral rosary and an elegant gold brooch with the motto
Amor vincit omnia, that is, 'love conquers all'. She wears her cloak and her veil in an elegant manner.

The Merchant
The portrait of the Merchant is the first example of the rising middle class and is one of the few in the 'General Proloque' in which
Chaucer describes an entire outfit. The Merchant is fashionable because he is wearing a colourful cloak, a Flemish beaver hat, and
has forked beard all of which were current fashion at that time. he trades in furs and other cloths, mostly from Flanders. He
constantly speaks of hus profits, he is concerned with making money and the military protection of trade routes. Althought he seems
wealthy, the Merchant is actually in debt. He borrows money, but he is creful enough to hude the fact that he is in debt. In medieval
England, to henin debt was a sign of weak morals. Therefore when Chaucer tells us that the Merchant is an excellent fellow all the
same he is using irony.

The wife of bath


The Wife of Bath is a storyteller who recites her autobiography, announcing at the beginning of the Prologue that “experience” will
be her guide. She travelled around the world as a pilgrim, visiting Jerusalem, Boulogne, Rome, Santiago de Compostela and
Cologne, and now she is doing another pilgrimage to Canterbury. Furthermore, she confesses that she got married five times and she
had many lovers when she was young. The Wife is exactly what the medieval Church saw as a “wicked woman” and she is proud of
it. She is wealthy, resourceful and an expert embroiderer and she usually wears extravagant clothes, including scarlet tights and very
expensive leather shoes. She is described as “gap-toothed”, “red in hue” and “handsome”, having “large hips” and a “bold face”.
She says that three husbands of hers have been “good” and two have been “bad”. The first three were good, she admits, mostly
because they were rich, old and submissive. She longs to go on pilgrimage because she loves company.