Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400)

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) & Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400): The Two Greatest Writers of the Middle Ages
Similarities Differences
Both Upper Middle Class/ Landed Gentry Dante is Italian; Chaucer is English
Both Active in Public Affairs, Envoys of Government Every one of Dante's subjects (except himself) is dead; Chaucer's are all alive.
Both Laymen with Orthodox views Dante used Bitterness, Chaucer used Humor to criticize religious hypocrites.
Both Aware of Injustices resulting from Abuses of System 
Both Exposed Scoundrels and Frauds with Enthusiasm
Dante's portraits "are more decisive, more limited, more exclusively concentrated on ethical definition; Chaucer's have room for more mundane, personal, and morally neutral detail" (Norton [old ed.]1894).
"General Prologue"
Cast of Characters:
 
Name Page Introduced/Described
Narrator 1203
Knight 1203
Squire 1204
Yeoman 1204
Prioress 1205
Priest 1206
Nun 1206
Monk 1206
Friar 1207
Merchant 1208
Oxford Student/Clerk 1209
Lawyer (Sergeant of Law) 1209
Franklin 1210
Haberdasher 1210
Carpenter 1210
Tapestry-Maker 1210
Dyer 1210
Weaver 1210
Cook 1211
Sailor/Shipman 1211
Physician (Doctor of Medicine) 1211
Wife of Bath 1212
Parson 1213
Plowman 1214
Reeve 1214/1215
Miller 1214
Summoner 1214/1216
 Manciple 1215
Pardoner 1214/1217
Innkeeper/Host 1219
General Things to Consider:
  • Characterization:  Relative "Goodness" and "Badness"
  • Comparison to Dante
  • Fabliau
  • Piety vs. Hypocrisy
  • Generational Differences
  • Relation of Story to Storyteller
  • Definitions of Terms 
** Homework Questions **
Chaucer:
1198:

1199:

1200:

1201:

General Prologue:
1202:

1203-4: 1205: 1206:
Other Discussion Questions:
1197:
1199:
1200:
1203: 1207: 1208:
1209: 1210: 1211: 1212: 1213:
1214: 1215:
1216: 1218: 1220:
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