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    Chaucer biography and compaing Essay

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    In Chaucer’s time many people lived in poverty and sickness a major cause of death was the bubonic plague (also known as the black death). In Chaucer’s time there was around 3 million people living in England and trade was very difficult because some major towns were quarantined because of the plague and roads were extremely bad only pack horses could make the journeys although a few goods were still often traded they were wool, silk, leather and wine.

    From 1327-1377 Edward III ruled, from 1377-1399 Richard II ruled and from 1399-1413 Henry IV ruled. England were often at war with France because France had taken over England in 1066 and there was often fights over land and power. The power of the church can still be seen today by the grand churches with many expensive statues. The nobility in England often spoke French because the royalty were decedents of the French so it was seen more acceptable and sophisticated although the common man spoke English.

    Geoffrey Chaucer was born at some time round the 1340s (the exact date is unknown). both his father and grandfather were Londoners, Geoffrey’s father made a living in the wine trade although the family was not rich they were certainly comfortable, since john Chaucer had so many connections he was able to get Geoffrey a place in the service of the wife of the duke of Clarence, as her page he got to meet many important people including john of gaunt who became one of Geoffrey’s most loyal and generous supporters, he served in a minor military expedition were he was captured, his ransom was later paid by the king himself, in 1969 he was granted a small pension by the king, later he became more important and became a 14th century equivalent of a civil servant, when john of gaunt went to Spain he was replaced by the duke of Gloucester leaving Chaucer in financial difficulty it is thought he started the Canterbury tales at this time, when john of gaunt came back Chaucer was restored to favour, Chaucer later died in 1400 and was buried in what’s now called poets corner.

    The Canterbury tale is a story about pilgrims travelling from Southwark to Canterbury there was thirty people and they were all meant to tell 4 stories 2 on the way there 2 on the way back to make the time go faster, one person would judge the stories and the best one would get a free meal at his inn, although most people only told 1 story and 4 stories were left unfinished, all the pilgrims were from different backgrounds some were part of the church some were millers, cooks etc. in this piece of coursework we are going to focus on the monk and the prioress.

    The 1st comparison between the monk and the prioress is that they both have personal possessions even though they shouldn’t being members of the church, on line 40-43 about the prioress it says “ful fetis was hir cloke, as I was war: of small coral aboute hir arm she bar a peire of bedes gauded al with grene and ther-on heng a brooch of gold ful shene” which means she was wearing a cloak, with a set of rosary beads round her arm she also wore a shining gold broach. On line 29-33 about the monk it says “I seigh his sleves ypurified at the hond with grys, and that the fyneste of a lond; and for to festne his hood under his chin he hadde of gold y-wroght a curious pin:” which means his sleeves were trimmed at the wrist with costly fur, the finest in the country : to fasten his hood under his chin he had an elaborately worked gold pin.

    The 2nd comparison between the monk and the prioress is that they both kept animals which like personal possessions they weren’t meant to have they both kept dogs although for different purposes the prioress loved animals and kept dogs as pets but the monk was completely different and had hunting dogs and a horse, the prioress hated to see animals hurt while the monk hunted them which shows they have very different personalities. The 3rd comparison between the monk and the prioress is that they were both relatively overweight neither of them should be though as they should be feeding the poor not stuffing themselves it says they are both overweight in the book prioress: “For hardily, she was nat undergrowe.” And for the monk: “He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt”

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