satire,humour and irony in the prologue to the canterbury tales

Topics: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Middle English Pages: 15 (6057 words) Published: November 27, 2013
Abstract:
Chaucer was sumptuous force in English literature,moulding it into a fresh leaf of artistic beauty and excellence,to be lauded by the coming generations of writers and critics.No doubt he was the paragon in the poetic field,a great observer of people.He is the “Evening star” of the Medievalism and the “Morning Star” of Renaissance.He is the last of the Medievals and the first of the modern.Chaucer’s attitude towards church is quite modern.Though church enjoyed a tremendous authority in the Middle Ages,yet it was thoroughly corrupt.It was an embodiment of immoral practices,materialistic pursuits and unconventional attitude.But he does not openly condemn the church except for some of the descriptions of corrupt officers,bestowing their vices and follies in a bit satrical and ironical manner.Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are indeed a great example of humor not only for his time period (14th century), but also for audiences today because each tale brings a sense of truth to society. In Chaucer's day, poetry was thought to only be understood by the rich or elite because it was only written in Latin or Italian. But, by writing these tales in English, Chaucer opened the door for all classifications of life to be able to read poetry and enjoy it. "The book...gives a rich, intricate tapestry of medieval social life, combining elements of all classes, from nobles to workers, from priests and nuns to drunkards and thieves".Capturing the various human temperament of the time holds a great interest to audiences still today. And, because Chaucer wrote the tales to entertain, his use of satire and irony make many of the tales comical.Chaucer’s method of chararacterization is both romantic and interesting.All the characters fantastically portrayed in front of reader,creating an everlasting impression on reader’s mind.The different feature of their physical appearance,social status and character,are so brilliantly communicated that the whole man or woman comes alive before reader’s eye.Being a representative poet of his age,Chaucer looks at his characters objectively,with intellect,detachment and penetration.Chaucer’s characters are “individual” as well as “type” not mere phantoms of brain,but real human beings.

Literature Review:
Many people have worked on Chaucer’s use of Humour,Irony and Satire in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales.Their names are:Jhon Miller,E.Albert,Professor Cazamian,Jhon Gower,W.H.Hudson and many others. The Free Dictionary define Humour as: The quality of being funny. Also called sense of humour the ability to appreciate or express that which is humorous.Situations, speech, or writings that are thought to be humorous. Accordind to Mariam Webster Dictionary Humour is:The amusing quality or element in something. According to Mariam Webster Dictionary Irony is: The use of words that mean the opposite of what you really think especially in order to be funny.or It is a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you expected. According to Mathew Arnold: “With him is born our Real Poetry” Legious Cazamine rightly opines: “Chaucer sees things as they are,and paints them as he sees them” G.K.Chesterton’s phrase: “If Chaucer is the father of English poetry,he certainly is the gran father of English novel.” According to Peter Ustinvo: “Humour is simply a funny thing of being serious” The Free Dictionary define Irony as: The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning. b. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning. c. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect.

According to Mariam Webster Dictionary Satire is: A way of using humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc. : humor that shows the weaknesses or bad qualities of a person,...
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