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The Effects of Characterization in The Canterbury Tales

Uploaded by xxdeftonesxx52 on Dec 03, 2004

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s work, The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer implements various techniques of characterization in “The Prologue” to express attributes of characters in the work. Chaucer reveals the personality of a character by directly commenting on a character’s past experiences, interests, actions, and personality. In addition, Chaucer characterizes the pilgrims to provide a perspective of the ecclesiastic, feudal, and middle classes during the medieval period. In fact, Chaucer uses characterization to depict the Knight as a chivalrous man, the Squire as a young man overly concerned with women, and the Monk as a corrupt member of the ecclesiastical class.
Certainly, one of Chaucer’s most famous characters is the Knight because of his strong belief in chivalry. Chaucer describes the Knight as an undeniable gentlemen: “ There was a Knight, a most distinguished man / Who from the day on which he first began / To ride abroad had followed chivalry, truth, honour, generousness and courtesy” (Chaucer 4). Unlike other pilgrims, the Knight is the most honorable person on the trip because he places an exceedingly high value on the ideals of chivalry. Chaucer also provides past experiences of the Knight to further characterize the Knight: “In fifteen mortal battles he had been / And jousted for our faith at Tramissene / Thrice in the lists, and always killed his man”(Chaucer 4). Through Chaucer’s description of the Knight’s accomplishments during the crusades, the reader sees the Knight as a true warrior, and a man of principles by his contributions to the military. Unlike many of the other characters in The Canterbury Tales the Knight perfectly personifies chivalry in the medieval age by being a gentleman and a warrior.
Dissimilar to the Knight, the Squire does not demonstrate characteristics of a veritable knight like his father because of his strong interest in women. Specifically, Chaucer’s comment about the Squire’s past experiences: “ He loved so hotly that till dawn grew pale” (Chaucer 5). Through Chaucer illustrating the Squire’s past experiences, Chaucer provides the reader with the impression of the Squire’s sexuality. Furthermore, Chaucer characterizes the Squire through his personality: “ A lover and cadet, a lad of fire” (Chaucer 5). Chaucer’s technique of using personality to describe the Squire provides the reader with a clearer image of the Squire as a young man interested in women, and in pursuit of knighthood in his future. In addition, Chaucer also provides a physical description of...

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Uploaded by:   xxdeftonesxx52

Date:   12/03/2004

Category:   Cantebury Tales

Length:   3 pages (703 words)

Views:   3572

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