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AS and A Level: Geoffrey Chaucer
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Common errors when writing about 'The Canterbury Tales'
- 1 Failing to consider language and form as well as the content.
- 2 Applying modern views and standards to a 14th century text. For example, modern attitudes to gender relationships and marriage can conflict with attitudes at the time of writing.
Failing to demonstrate appropriate historical/contextual knowledge about:
Religious beliefs and practices,
Class and hierarchical structure,
Social relationships between men and women.
Key terms to use when writing about Chaucer's verse. Ensure you know what they mean!
- 1 Middle English.
- 2 Rhythmic variety.
- 3 Decasyllables.
- 4 Caesura.
- 5 Rhetoric.
The best essays on 'The Canterbury Tales' are able to give a precise description of all of these kinds of humour
- 1 Farce.
- 2 Bawdy.
- 3 Irony.
- 4 Slapstick.
- 5 Satire.
- Marked by Teachers essays 2
"A shockingly cynical picture". In the light of this comment, discuss the Wife of Bath's account of her marriages to her first three husbands. In your response, you should consider:4 star(s)
Moreover, the wife recalls with a boastful tone how "many a night they songen "weilawey!" She also prides herself on her ability to make them bring her "gaye things fro the faire" yet she still "chidde them spituously", highlighting a lack of respect towards her husbands. This is likewise apparent in the wife's tirade against them in which she employs a variety of offensive terms, "olde kaynard" and "olde lechour" being two examples. The relationship that the wife had with her first three husbands was clearly devoid of respect and affection on her part yet she remains firmly unapologetic throughout her account.
- Word count: 909
In the Canterbury Tales, the Pardoner is the cynical but authoritative voice of truth at its most foul. If a man is clever and perceptive -- if he is not prone to self-delusion, if he has keen insight into himself, into others and into human nature -- then that man will have an ability to manipulate and exploit others -- that is, a consequent temptation to be villainous - that dimmer bulbs will lack. In blunt terms: knowledge is power, and power corrupts.
- Word count: 1056