• 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. 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."

  2. Raymond Carver's "Cathedral".

    [...] Pathetic. (22-23) His apathy towards the actual loss of Robert's wife confirmed his bias against him and blind people in general. At the climax and end of the story, the husband reached an epiphany and understood Robert's life and his wife's feelings toward "the blind man."

  1. How do the Canterbury Tales represent female desires?

    To laugh and mock her silly female interpretations of The Holy Scriptures or are we simply to see this as another way that women can manipulate anything to get their way. Although Chaucer may have wrote Alisoun to be tenacious and resourceful he was a product of his time and would find it difficult to transcend his social context.

  2. How do the Canterbury Tales explore the idea of gender? Discuss with reference to ...

    fifth husband sees fit to taunt his wife with his knowledge of classical and biblical tales. However one must consider the challenge to the misogynistic views of her peers that Wife of Bath delivers in her prologue, despite her misinterpretation and ambiguity when quoting such sources as St Jerome and

  1. Discuss the sense of isolation and helplessness in ‘The Devils Carousel’ and ‘The Restraint ...

    "seventeen quid" and a comical ditty is used as an epitaph for McQuirr. While the authors make these actions comic and ridiculous they do suggest that work has caused employees to be insular and concerned only with their own lives, which are in themselves helplessly dull and lifeless.

  2. Carnival and Pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales

    and incongruous, combining images of birth and life with images of death, disfigurement or dismemberment. It is not accurate to think of carnival only as a temporary and permitted reaction of the underprivileged/ Bakhtin, as a Marxist, over-emphasizes this side, but he recognizes the positive side that celebrated human life per se.

  1. Throughout the 'Canterbury Tales' the theme of marriage occurs and generates discussion among the ...

    Women were best to conceive their children when they were younger so that the baby stood a greater chance of survival. Thus an era of senex amans, literally 'old man lover' began. This meant that older men were marrying younger wives to ensure that an heir would be produced.

  2. Compare and contrast the presentation of three pilgrims from Chaucer's General Prologue' and show ...

    such as training the Squire, his son, taking part in jousts, defending the faith, travelling abroad to battles. This suggests that in Chaucer's society there were many wars and that in the feudal system; knights were expected to fight to defend their faith and country.

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