To Canterbury They Went

Having to memorize the first eighteen lines of a language that seems to similar to yours but is completely different is difficult. Most of the spelling is the same, but the pronunciation and word place is mostly different, not taking into account words that just don’t exist. Middle English is fun though; especially if you are learning about it through a book as interesting as this one.

Of Englelond to Caunterbury they wende… and told stories on the way. Taking a class on medieval literature sure has been eye-opening. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a  collection of tales all figuratively told by different people but literally told by one and has a lot to teach about the societal norms, the types of people, and systems of medieval England.

These manuscripts that turned into a book was extremely popular in its day.  It was Chaucer’s most famous work. Till this day, people do not do what he was trying to say or how he truly felt about the topics he wrote about. While I think he was skeptic about religion, advocate for women right, and opposed the class system others may not. We do know the position his characters took on these matters. The interesting thing about this collection is that he takes the persona of different people or caricatures of that time period and tells a tale based on the normal patterns of a person like that. On the other hand, he makes in hard for us to really believe that they completely agree with the tale they are telling because often times, he would have said something contradictory or their prologues would have revealed something that says otherwise. There is also the fact that Chaucer himself is a pilgrim/character in the story who we get the tales from. Chaucer the poet is telling the stories that Chaucer the pilgrim is getting from stories told by other pilgrims. It’s very convoluted.

I say give it a try. There are many translations of it if you find you don’t like middle English. If not because I recommended it then because it is one of the greatest contributions to English literature.

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