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

    He claims of how "unbekeled is the male", which could be seen as a metaphor of the opening of Pandora's box, declaring his thoughts that things are well underway. It is here that the Host invites the Monk to tell the next story of the competition, seemingly working his way through the pilgrims in order of social status.

  2. Discuss Chaucer's use of variety in The Merchant's Prologue and Tale.

    The parallels with mythology would have been easily understood by a medieval audience and are another example of the extent of Chaucer's knowledge. However, the comparisons with mythology and stories from long ago are not always used in such a way as to promote grandeur and splendour.

  1. 'Ending' To Strawberry Spring.

    I turned right towards New Sharon Teacher's college. That was all I could remember. That night Jessica Perkins was killed. She was a lonely girl with few friends, she was walking to the Grinder when it happened. Her head was missing and on the back of her white blouse was the message in her won blood 'Jack's Back!'.

  2. How do the Canterbury Tales represent female desires?

    The figure of the Virgin Mary was the church's retaliation against the image of the courtly lady in medieval fiction. She is maternal, warm, caring and compassionate. She is also excluded from original sin as she gave birth to Jesus through Immaculate Conception. What is the opposite to immaculate? Dirty.

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

    The "sleves purfiled at the hond /with grys, and that the fyneste of a lond". This suggests that he is extravagant and doesn't really care about religious vows. The simile that says the Monk's head "shoon as any glas", could also suggest that he is vain.

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

    be humble and retired, he is outgoing whereas a monk should live a cloistered, conserved life away from the public. The Monk is totally different to the Knight; the Knight is humble and wears tattered clothes covered in rust whereas the Monk wears expensive clothes, is materialistic and is flamboyant.

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