• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"How effective is Chaucer in establishing the General Prologue of "the Canterbury Tales"? (Line 1 - 43)

Extracts from this document...


Edward Gillingham A2 English Lit. (The Canterbury Tales) "How effective is Chaucer in establishing the General Prologue of "the Canterbury Tales"? (Line 1 - 43) The General Prologue is developed through the conflict Chaucer presents between nature and life. Both his description of the scene and of the characters of which he writes, is seen to mirror this contrast and thus it can be seen as one of the many literary devices he uses to make the piece effective. I will show how these devices, the language he uses and the tone it creates allow his success in making the passage efficient. Chaucer opens the General Prologue with a description of the return of spring. He describes the April rains, the burgeoning flowers and leaves, and the chirping birds. The invocation of spring is lengthy and formal compared to the language of the rest of the Prologue. ...read more.


choose to travel to Canterbury to visit the relics of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, where they thank the martyr for having helped them, "...whan that they seeke". With such an opening, one can therefore find evidence of the marriage of the two elements of nature and life. It can be seen that Chaucer's literary efforts at this point are geared towards the depiction of natural events having a sub-conscious bearing upon the actions of people, and thus outlines that, although, as the reader will come to see, the characters have very different approaches and motivations for partaking in the journey, they do share a sense of direction and enthusiasm towards a common goal. Chaucer is then seen to abandon his unfocused point of view, identifying himself as an actual person for the first time by inserting the first person: "I", as he relates how he met the group of pilgrims while staying at the Tabard Inn. ...read more.


With such an introduction, it is evident that Chaucer is more than able to use descriptive language and vivid imagery in order to create a firm picture in the minds of the readers. It is also made clear that his belief is that all things appear rejuvenated and awakened by the return of spring, in particular, the sense of faith and devotion of the pilgrims. However, what is interesting is that, although at this point in the tale, the pilgrims are made to appear as though their intentions lie solely in their internal drive to better themselves by travelling on pilgrimage, it will become increasingly apparent to the reader as the tale continues that this is not the only motivation for some of the characters and that many hold more baser qualities in higher regard. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. General Notes on Chaucer and the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

    The Canterbury Tales has many speakers, rather than just one (as in The Confessio Amantis and The Book of the Knight of Latour-Landry), and it differs from Boccaccio's Decameron, the closest analogue, in that the speakers are not from a single social class (as are Boccaccio's elegant young Florentines)

  2. Discuss Chaucer's use of irony in the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales.

    The lecherous, corrupt villain is described thus in lines 647-651: "He was a gentil harlot and a kinde; A bettre felawe sholde men noght finde. He wolde suffre, for a quart of wyn A good felawe to [liven as a swyn] A twelf-month, and excuse him atte fulle: Ful prively a finch eek coude he pulle."

  1. Taking together the portrait of the Miller in the 'General Prologue' with the framing ...

    The Knight was the most noble out of the group of pilgrims, and second to him came the Church, of which the Monk was of the highest position.

  2. What is established in the opening to the 'Turn of the Screw' by Henry ...

    The great brown hall also adds to the idea of the old fashioned house. The atmosphere created has a dual purpose because it also emphasises the apparently idyllic setting for the main story. For example, the prologue is set 'on Christmas Eve in an old house' where as the setting of the main story has 'a most pleasant impression'.

  1. "What do the first 149 lines of the Merchant's prologue and Tale tell us ...

    (L, 123 - 124). Chaucer uses rhyming couplet form to imitate colloquial speech, the rhyme adds emphasis to the knights desire to marry. A negative light is shone over 'bacheleris' (l, 62) who have a life full of 'allas' and often live in 'peyne and wo' (L, 66).

  2. "The pilgrims summarise the noblest ideals and the basest practises" Discuss this statement.

    trewely to tellen at laste,/ he was in chirche a noble ecclesiate." In writing the portrait of the Summoner, Chaucer appears to be flattering the man when he is in fact his scathing satire is reaching new intensities. When describing the Pardonner, on the other hand, Chaucer is openly hostile.

  1. From Studying six portraits in Chaucer's General Prologue to the CanterburyTales what do you ...

    The wealth of the country at this time came from the church and it was very powerful, owning much of the land in England. However, the church was involved in some bad practices. The church owned its own courtrooms to which people would be summoned and put on trial often receiving fines of very large sums of money.

  2. How do the Canterbury Tales represent female desires?

    This attitude goes far to explain the unhealthy view of women. If making love to your wife, purely because you love her, is seen as wrong and dirty therefore are women seen as wrong and dirty also? The answer unfortunately is yes.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work