Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (Cliffs Notes) by Cliffs Notes Editors

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Extra resources for Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (Cliffs Notes)

Example text

Chaucer was sent to the Inner Court at St. Paul's Almonry where he received an excellent education. In 1357 Chaucer became page to the Countess of Ulster; he met some of the greatest men in England, among them John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Two years later Chaucer, as a soldier, went to France on an invasion excursion which was doomed to failure. He was captured, and in 1360 was successfully ransomed. No information is available about Chaucer again until 1366. By that time Chaucer's father was dead, his mother was remarried, and Chaucer was married to a woman named Philippa de Roet.

In other words, Chaucer or the Knight seems to be implying that the lives of men are influenced by what seems to be chance, but in the long run and in terms of a total world picture, there is a god who is controlling the seemingly chance occurrences of the world. The universe, then, is not as incoherent and unorderly as might first be expected. There is a logic or controlling purpose behind all the acts of the universe even though man might not understand it. Any reader the least familiar with ancient Greece will be a little surprised to discover that the medieval custom of knights in armor jousting for the hand of a maiden was an attribute of Athenian life.

The Miller wed her because he was something of a social climber and wanted a refined wife. But Chaucer implies that being the daughter of the town clergyman, she was probably illegitimate. But both of them were proud of their twenty-year old daughter and six-month baby boy. Page 26 The Miller levied excessive charges for his work, in addition to stealing what he could. This was particularly true of the corn brought to him for grinding from a large-sized college at Cambridge. One day when the manciple (steward) was too ill to go to the mill to watch the Miller grind his corn, the man sent to the mill was duped and robbed outrageously.

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