Jan 25: The General Prologue

In the General Prologue Chaucer describes the different characters that will be taking this pilgrimage to Canterbury. How does he choose to go about describing these characters? Do they seem to fit the ideal for their profession or place in society? Why do you think he chose to depict them this way?

2 thoughts on “Jan 25: The General Prologue

  1. I think in the Prologue uses a lot of physical descriptions that gives us clues to the personality of the characters. For example, the knight, who we know is this great warrior, wears ‘a gyphon/ al bismorterednwith his habergeon’ which shows the reader that he is not just wearing his laurels of knighthood but actually fights because is clothes are dirty (74-5). I think for the knight, at least, we get an understanding that he is true to his what we imagine knights to be while other characters, like the Prioress or the Squire, tend to play with what we imagine them to be. Chaucer seems to be playing with some ideas of who we imagine certain people to be, like the manly man Monk, which will fit into the tales they tell later on.

  2. Each character has unique feature that generally match their given occupations. Some characters fit slightly better into their stereotype that we would normally assume, but Chaucer gives each character certain physical and behavioral differences that give the reader a more detailed analysis of their personalities. The nun of course is a figure of the church who embodies many features that we still attach to nuns of today. The nun is very proper and effortlessly obtains her self has a well mannered individual, yet Chaucer humorously attached how well she handles her sauce to her background description. Other characters branch further away from the typical assumptions we commonly assume, like the monk who “swynkens with his hands” instead of reading “upon a book in cloyster.”

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