Canterbury Tales :Prologue – Study Guide

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what season of the year do lines 1-10 describe?
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Spring – April
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why would people choose this time of the year for a trip?
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rebirth, weather is perfect, renewal, love, and religion
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who is the martyr the pilgrims seek and where is he located?
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St.Thomas a Becket of Canterbury
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why would the narrator be so interested in describing their apparel?
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indicates class in society, and tells personality
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what qualities does the knight posses?
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chivalry, truth honor generousness, and courtesy
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what does the knights clothing reveal about this character?
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he was dressed modestly in war clothes, he cares about serving God in battle
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how is the squire different from his father, the knight?
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the squire is interested in romance, vanity, and ladies the knight is interested in battle
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what does the Yeoman appearance reveal about his character?
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neat in appearance and maintains his equipment he takes pride in his job
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Yeoman Quote:
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\”his head was like a nut, his face was brown. He knew the whole of wood craft up and down\”
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the prioress (nun) swore by St.Loy. why is this ironic?
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a nun should not swear
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what do lines 128-130 suggest about the nun?
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she tries to act worldly and cultured. she is counter fit (fake)
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how does the Chaucer describe the prioress ( nun)?
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ignores the religious life, wears coral trinkets, and jewels, concerned with appearances
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whats wrong with the Prioress (nuns) attitude toward her dogs?
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she feeds them rich food instead of feeding the poor
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what is Chaucer satirizing in his tale about the squire and the prioress and what does he admire in the knight and the Yeoman?
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the squire and the nun: both concerned with outside appearances the Yeoman and knight: both helping in battle and taking their job seriously
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what is a typical monk’s existence like?
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prayer, living a cloistered (isolated/ secluded) life.
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how does the Monk in the prologue fell about the monastic life? How do you know this?
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dresses luxuriously, likes to hunt and liked women
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what is Chaucer’s attitude toward the Monk?
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not vicious but not virtuous
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describe the Friars way of life:
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accepts bribes and extorts money. likes to sing and drink wine.
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what is the significance of the Friars dress?
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he wore a very expensive wool cape. clothes should be plain and inexpensive
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how is the merchant dressed and what does this reveal about his character?
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wore a beaver hat, cared about appearance and social status
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why does Chaucer only briefly mention the merchant?
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not as important as the other characters
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Who was the oxford – cleric?
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a student, training to enter the church
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Oxford – Cleric quote:
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\”a tone of moral virtue filled his speech and gladly would he learn and gladly teach\”
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What is so extraordinary about the Cleric having 20 books?
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it was like a library now days
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how does the cleric repay his benefactors and why is this important?
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prays for them
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what was the role of the Serjeants – at – Law?
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prominent member of the legal profession
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how is the Chaucer’s attitude toward the Serjeant conveyed?
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he contracts his materialism with his apparent wisdom
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who was the Franklin and where does he rank in the social order?
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country land owner, wealth. ranked just below nobility in social order
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which of the seven deadly sins does the Franklin appear to be guilty of? How do you know this?
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gluttony, he always has tons of food in his home (eating habits)
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what is the function of Guilds in medieval society?
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professional craftsmen they took pride in their work
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Guildsman quote:
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\”they had the capital and revenue, besides their wives declared it was their due\”
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what was the significance of the wives attitudes?
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enjoyed their husbands wealth because it earned them social recognition
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what is humorous about the cook?
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he was very skilled at cooking but had a gross boil/ulster on his knee
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how is Chaucer’s portrait of the Skipper sympathetic?
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he is admirable because he takes pride in his job – compared to a pirate
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who is associated with the sea?
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the skipper
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describe the medieval medicine the Doctor uses:
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he used astrology
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what is the significance of the doctors diet?
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well balanced diet, avoids eating for pleasure
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Doctor Quotes:
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– \”the cause of every malady you’d got he knew, and whether dry, cold, moist, or hot\” – \”yet he was rather close as to expenses and kept the gold he won in pestilences.Gold simulates the heart, or so were told.he therefore had a special love of gold\”
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apothecary:
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pharmacist
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how do lines 451 – 454 reflect the Doctor’s love of gold in a satiric fashion?
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takes peoples money yet he preaches gold is good for the heart
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what is the symbolic meaning of the color red used in the Wife of Bath’s description?
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red symbolizes passion
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what are some of the physical attributes of the Wife of Bath?
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gaped teeth, bold red face, large hips, and hat on head
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why do you think the Wife of Bath travels so much?
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to seek another husband
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How does Chaucer reveal his attitude toward the Wife of bath?
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satirical depiction of proper 14th century women
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Wife of Bath quote:
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\”And knew the remedies for loves mischances, an art in which she knew the oldest dances\”
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what qualities does the parson possess?
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piety (holiness), goodness, charity, follower of Christ
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which character is the Parson a foil for?
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the friar and the monk. he represents the proper way the clergy should be, the others don’t
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what is the significance of the question \”….If gold rust(s), what then will iron do?\” 510-511
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if clergy were corrupt, who would the parishioners follow
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what part of society does the Plowman represent?
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the working part of society – he was a farmer , christian lay maker
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what qualities does the Plowman possess which make him representative of the ideal christian layman?
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honest, good, true, charity
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Plowman quotes:
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– \”Loving Gods best with all his heart and mind and then his neighbor as himself repined\” – \”He paid his tithes in full when they were due. On what he owned, and on his earnings too.\”
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what are the physical attributes of the Miller?
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brawny, stout, strong, 224 pounds, red beard, big mouth, wart on nose with hair sticking out
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how do the Miller characteristics reveal his moral fiber? ( thievery)
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he would cheat people by pressing his thumb on the scale when weighing the grain
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who played the bagpipes?
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the miller
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who is the manciple?
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servant who purchased food and supplies for the estate
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how does Chaucer satirize the Manciple s cleverness and practical nature against the \”learned men\” he worked for?
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more clever, thrifty, and practical then any of his educated men
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who was a illiterate fellow?
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the Manciple
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Manciple quotes:
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– \”in buying victuals he was never rash whether he bought on credit or paid cash\” – \” a round one, which it was his joke to wield as if it were intended for a shield\”
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how does Chaucer convey the Reeve’s craftiness?
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grows rich through sharp dealings and theft
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what was the name of the Reeve’s horse?
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Scott
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why might the Reeve ride last in the pilgrimage?
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he is devious, he doesn’t want to get caught
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what is the Summoners job?
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employee of the church court, sent to call those who committed offenses against the church
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what are some of the less admirable practices of the church as described by the Summoner?
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accepts bribes, extorts money for sins, blackmails to keep you quiet
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describe the Summoner’s physical appearance:
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face on fire, black scabby brows, pimples on face
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what is the Pardoner’s job?
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sells pardons for sins. he sells fake relics, indulgences
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Pardoner quote:
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\”he has the same small voice as a goat has got\”
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how is the Pardoner similar to the Monk and Friar?
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they are all corrupt churchmen, ecclesiastical (church)
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How is the host described?
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welcoming, nearly hearted man, strong, bright eyes, girth wide
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each person tells 4 tales on trip:
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— 2 outward — 2 backward
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the judge of the best tale told:
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the host
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the one who tells the best tale wins:
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dinner at the Tabard Inn
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how to win:
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the one who tells the best moral and most exciting tale
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how the order of who tells the tales first and after:
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draw straws to pick who tells the first story. the one with he shortest straw tells their tale first.
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the Parson and Plowman:
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= brothers
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the Knight and Squire:
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= father and son
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3 categories of people in the story:
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1. charitable: Knight, Parson, Plowman 2. not virtuous/questionable: Doctor, Nun, Cook, Monk, Skipper, Squire, merchant, Wife of bath 3. vicious: Summoner, Friar, Miller, Reeve

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