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Chaucer Exam Notes Canterbury Tales & Dream Poetry Notes

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This is an extract of our Chaucer Exam Notes Canterbury Tales & Dream Poetry document, which we sell as part of our Middle English Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford University students.

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CHAUCER

QUESTIONS


DREAM

POETRY

1. Examine

the

influence

of

Chaucer

on

one

or


more

authors

of

the

fifteenth

century.


CHAUCER'S

INFLUENCE

2. 'The

tension

between

the

transcendental

and


the

mundane,

central

to

medieval

dream


theory,

creeps

into

even

the

most

fully

divine


or

earthly

dream

visions'.


MUNDANE+TRANSCENDENTAL

IN

DREAM

3. Examine

the

relationship

between

'dreaming'


and

'doing'

in

any

two

works

of

this

period.


DREAMING

+

DOING

4. Examine

one

or

more

texts

that

demonstrate


sharply

divergent

attitudes

towards

women.


ATTITUDES

TO

WOMEN

5. Dream

visions

always

directly

interrogate

the


bases

of

poetic

imagination'.

Discuss.


DREAM

VISION

+

IMAGINATION

6. Debate

is

not

a

stand--alone

form

but

a


prominent

component

of

many

works

of

the


medieval

period.

Discuss.


USE

OF

DEBATE

7. 'Later

medieval

literature

is

distinctive

in

the


room

it

allows

for

voices

of

dissent'.

Discuss.


VOICE

OF

DISSENT

8. Examine

the

representation

of

women's


speech

inside

and/or

outside

of

marriage

in

at


least

two

texts.


FEMALE

SPEECH

+

MARRIAGE

9. Discuss

the

engagement

with

the

'literary


'past'

in

some

dream

visions

that

you

have


read.


LITERARY

PAST

+

DREAM

VISION


CANTERBURY

TALES

1. What

Chaucer

wanted

from

the

frame

was

a

rich


choice

of

different

kinds

of

narrative

and

the


indirection

of

authorial

relation,

the

mask

of


anonymity,

which

alone

gave

him

room

for


manoeuvre.'


FRAMEWORK

+

AUTHORSHIP

2. 'Quite

in

contrast

to

Boccaccio's

Decameron,

the


Canterbury

Tales

includes

rather

dull

stories

set


into

a

vibrant

narrative'.


TALES

+

NARRATIVE

FRAME

3. To

what

extent

is

it

possible

to

see

the


Canterbury

Tales

narrators

as

characters

distinct


from

the

poet?


NARRATIVE

+

VOICE

+

CHARACTERS

4. When

Chaucer

took

his

leave

of

the

Canterbury


Tales

he

revoked

'the

tales

of

Caunterbury,


thilke

that

sownen

into

synne'.

What


importance

do

you

attach

to

this,

and

which


tales

would

you

suppose

the

description

to


cover?


RETRACTIONS

5. Chaucer

offers

us

advice

on

how

to

read

The


Canterbury

Tales

in

the

prologue

to

the

Miller's


Tale

(A.

3167--86).


ADVICE

TO

READER

/

NARRATIVE

6. Discuss

conceptions

of

the

audience

in

the


Canterbury

Tales.


AUDIENCE

+

VOICE

+

CONCEALMENT

7. 'The

basic

literary

form

in

the

Canterbury

Tales


is,

shockingly,

the

fabliau'


USE

OF

FABLIAU

8. 'Chaucer's

intense

understanding

of

the


potentialities

of

a

literary

genre

or

source

often


means

that

he

transforms

it

into

something


totally

new.'

Discuss

with

reference

to

one

or


more

of

The

Canterbury

Tales.


USE

OF

SOURCES

+

GENRE

9. 'There

are

a

number

of

tales

in

which

[...]

the


mixed

style

is

on

display

and

becomes

a

part

of


the

subject

of

the

poem'

(Charles

Muscatine).


Discuss

with

relation

to

two

or

more

Canterbury


Tales


STYLE

+

GENRE

THE

CANTERBURY

TALES;


six

tales,

three

romances,

and

three

fabliaux:

The

Knight's

Tale,

The

Franklin's

Tale,

and

The

Wife

of


Bath's

Tale

and,

The

Miller's

Tale,

The

Friar's

Tale,

and

The

Nun's

Priest's

Tale.

1. THE

AUTHOR:

Intentions

and

Responsibility


C

associated

sin

with

motive

/

intention

rather

that

over

pious

interpretations

which

would

deem

his


work

immoral

--

thus

stresses

goof

intentions

and

places

responsibility

of

ill

interpretation

upon

his


readers.

Adopts

persona

of

truth

teller

--

must

tell

these

stories

as

they

are,

cannot

make

them

more


virtuous

or

that

would

be

lying

--

adds

veracity

--

has

no

control

over

characters

--

real

therefore

not


responsible?


1 Retractions:

"Al

that

is

writen

is

wtiren

for

oure

doctrine"


2 Miller's

Tale:

"Turne

over

the

leef

and

chese

another

tale...Blameth

nat

me

if

that

ye

chese


amys"

(I.3176-81)


3 Squires

Intro:

"Nay

sir,"

quod

he,

"but

I

wol

seye

as

I

kan,

With

hertly

wyl,

for

I

wol

nat


rebelle

Agayn

your

lust.

A

tale

wol

I

telle,

Have

me

excused

if

I

speke

amys;

My

wyl

is


good,

and

lo,

my

tale

is

this."


4 Parson's

Tale:

"This

litel

tretsy"

if

there

are

faults

in

they

are

due

to

ignorance

not

malice


"to

default

my

unknoyne

and

nat

to

my

wyl"


5 4.

General

Prologue

:


"Or

ellis

he

moot

telle

his

tale

untrewe,

Or

feyne

thyng,

or

fynde

wordes

newe.

.....

Crist

spak

hymself

ful

brode

in

hooly

writ,

And

wel

ye

woot

no

vileynye

is

it.

Eek

Plato

seith,

whoso

kan

hym

rede,

The

wordes

moote

be

cosyn

to

the

dede.


Cannot

control

reader

responses

so

inserts

caveats

/

insurances

so

that

he

cannot

be

held

responsiblit


/

accountable

for

the

meanings

hterein.

If

they

are

the

ones

that

find

evil

within

the

text

then

than


shows

more

about

their

morality

than

his?

2.

NARRATIVE

STRUCTURE:

Multiple

voices

and

audiences


Multiple

perspectives

/

style

/

genre

/

syntax

--

variety

+

Contrast

--

"market

place

of

poetics"


challenges

presumptions

of

interpretation.

Many

mocking

and

untrust

worthy

voices

contrast

wiwth


the

earnest

retractions.

* Array

of

situations

of

address

-

plethora

of

temporary

/

presumably

fictional

addresses

-


evoked

to

provide

orientation

for

particularly

prospective

that

Chaucer

wishes

to

employ


during

narration.

* Use

of

fictional

audiences

complements

flexible

use

of

his

own

narrative

position

(see

E.T


Donaldson

essay)

* Multiple

narrators

find

their

counterparts

in

Chaucer's

tactical

evocation

of

appropriate


addresses

to

hear

them.

They

fulfill

their

own

role

by

virtue

of

their

difference

from

the


narrator's

speaking

voice.

* Chaucer

finds

"audience"

by

directing

his

words

to

those

members

of

his

circle

most

likely

to


understand

his

words

as

he

wants

them

to

be

understood.

(Retractions

act

in

a

similar

way

-


directing

interpretation

-

shows

Chaucer's

general

concern

for

this.

* Fictional

pilgrim

tellers

and

hearers

and

contains

no

references

to

a

real

audience

=

A

fictional


pilgrim

audience

-

emphasis

on

their

responses

-

leaves

little

space

for

history

in

the

form

of


contemporary

engagement

with

an

actual

public.

Uses

this

freedom

as

a

vehicle

for

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