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Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales, riassunto scaricato 0 volte

The Canterbury tales

The life and times of Geoffrey Chaucer:
Turbulent Turbolento Ransom Riscatto
Diplomat Diplomatico Lady-in-waiting Dama di corte
Negotiation Negoziato Purse Borsetta
Commerce Commercio Pension Pensione
Plague Pestilenza To march Marciare
Shortage Scarsità, assenza To suppress Reprimere
Labourer Bracciante- lavoratore Jurisprudence Giurisprudenza
Peasant Contadino Alchemy Alchemia
To accompany Accompagnare

Summary: Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London around 1340 and died in 1400. He lived in one of the most turbolent times in the English history, during that time the English King changed three times, it was also the time of the Hundred Years’ War and it was the time when the plague killed millions of people. Chaucer was a political man who worked for the government and he knew how to speak English, French (as England was a country of two languages), Latin (as it was the trade language at the time) and Italian too, so that’s the reason way he translated a lot of works and wrote a ton of thing about astrology, alchemy and jurisprudence. He did some diplomatic missions: he served for the wife of Prince Lionel, served for the Hundred Years’ War, when he was captured near the Reims. He was also sent to Genoa and Florence where he read the works of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio which had a big influence for his literary style. As Chaucer’s patron guided the new King of England, Chaucer continued doing many missions for England and became a member of the Parliament in 1386 after a lot of his money were stolen because he had worked as the clerk of many monuments in London. That was the time when in 1387 he started writing The Canterbury Tales that was intended to be formed by 120 tales. Although Chaucer has important jobs and many problems so that’s the reason why he had never finished the poem. He continued until his death in 1400 when was buried near Westminster Abbey and then moved to the Poet’s Corner inside the Abbey with other famous poets.

Chapter 1, The Prologue:
Pilgrimage Pelligrinaggio Austere Severo
Shrine Reliquiario Holy Sacra
Stable Stalla Monk Monaco
Honourable Onorato Pompusly Pomposamente
Magnanimous Magnanimo Profit Profitto
Wise Saggio Worthy Meritevole
To embroider Ricamare Deaf Sordo
To joust Gareggiare Pimple Brufolo
Courteous Cortese Bump Bozzo, gobba
Bow Arco Summon Convocazione
Manner Maniera Sinner Peccatore
Trap Trappola Amusement Divertimento
Coral Corallo Knight Cavaliere
Rosary Rosario Squire Propietario terriero
To conquer Conquistare Flute Flauto
Chaplain Cappellano Courageous Coraggioso
Priest Prete Prelate Ecclesiastico
Cloister Monastero To twinkle Luccicare
To exchange Cambiare Clerk Ecclesiastico- addetto
Sergeant Sergente Practitioner Professionista
Franklin Un uomo libero Summoner Convocatore

Summary: The narrator opens the Prologue with a description of the return of spring. Around this time of year, people start going on pilgrimages. Many devout English pilgrims set off to travel to Canterbury to visit the relics of Saint Thomas Becket in the Canterbury Cathedral. The narrator tells us that as he prepared to go on a pilgrimage, with a great company of many travellers, who were on their way to Canterbury. That night, the group slept at the tavern, and woke up early the next morning to set off on their journey. Before continuing the tale, the narrator describes each of the members of the group: the Knight, a courageous soldier of high class on a horse, the squire a beautiful, young and lovable man, the yeoman, the nun a cultured and quiet woman, the monk an active and handsome man, the friar a member of a mendicant religious community, the merchant a common person in commerce, a very cultured Clerk, a lawyer, the franklin who was a country and simple gentleman, a doctor who used astrology for curing people, a woman who had many husbands, the Summoner and the padroner a man who gives papal indulgences.
Chapter 2, The Knight’s Tale:
Conquered Conquistato Loss Perdita
Tyrant Tiranno Fury Furia
To wound-wounded Ferire- ferita Cowardice Codardia
Despair Disperazione Worsened Peggiorato
Weak Debole Inconsolable inconsolabile
Labourer Lavoratore Pyre Pira
By chance Per caso Mourned Piangere qlc
Weapon Arma Spear Lancia
To clatter Sferragliare- sferrare Schield Scudo
Decreed Decretato To assemble Assemblare
Pomp Sfarzo Tactic Tattica
To roar Ruggire Despair Disperazione

Summary: The Knight’s Tale talks about Theseus the lord of Athens. One day he was returning to Athens with his little daughter Emily when they heard some women crying. Those women asked for help, because their husbands were killed by Creon and were given to dogs to eat. Theseus left Emily home and then killed Creon and he gave the women their husbands’ bones. At the end of the battle, Theseus found only two knights who were still alive and he took them to prison. They were Plamon and Arcite, two noble cousins. Years passed and one day Emily, who had grown up so beautiful, was singing in the palace and the two cousins saw her through the prison’s bars, and fell in love with her. They started arguing about who had the right to love her, then, a Duke, who knew Arcite well, asked Theseus to set Arcite free with the condition that he never returned to Athens. Palamon, as he was jealous of his cousins because he could see Emily in the palace, started being melancholic and grew thin and pale. One night Mercury appeared to him in a dream and told Arcite to come back to Athens so he could end his despair. When he arrived there, dressed as a labourer called Philostrate, he met Palamon, who had escaped from prison. They argued and decided to start a duel the next day to win Emily’s love. The next day, when the duel was about to begin, Theseus arrived and was ready to kill them both but Emily came and had mercy on them. Theseus told them to come back a year later with a big army and fight in duel for Emily. The night before the battle Emily went to Diana’s temple and prayed for the knights, Arcite went to pray Mars for victory and Palamon prayed Venus. The next day the battle was fought until afternoon when a sword struck Palamon and Arcite was decreed as the winner but a funeral fury, sent by Pluto, burst out the ground and wounded Arcite so much, that no doctor could cure him. As he said his last words Palamon and Emily dressed in black for many days, then, they got married and lived happily ever after with Arcite in their hearts too.

Chapter 3:
Coarse Rude Gluttony Gola
Sermon Omelia Dung Letame
Holy Santo To gamble Giocare d’azzardo
Sin Peccato To hang Appendere
Betrayed Tradito To wrestle Lottare
Avarice Avarizia Apothecary Farmacia
Brothel Bordello Wickedness Cattiveria
Courteous Cortese, gentile Greed Avidità

Summary: The Padroner’s Tale talks about three young people who made a lot of sins: they used to drink, eat and swear a lot. One night, while they were drinking in a tavern, they heard funeral bells and asked whose body was that. A man told them that it was a friend of theirs who was killed by a men called Death. The three men decided to leave the tavern and search for Death, as they heard that he was the most famous killer in the village. When they left the tavern, they met an ugly, poor and old man who greeted them and told the guys that he was so old and ugly because not even Death wants him so he is still alive. When the men heard the old man talking about Death they thought he was a spy of his, so they asked him where to find Death, them, following the man’s instructions, they went through a path up a hill. When they arrived, they found eight bags of gold and they made a plan to take them home. One of the three boys went back to town and bought wine and bread to celebrate with his friends, he went to an apothecary for buying potions and put it in the bottle of wine to kill the other men, so he could keep the gold all for himself. In the other hand, the other two men, who were looking after the gold, planned to murder the third, so they did. After that, they cheer and drank the poisoned wine and died too. After telling the tale, the Pardoner told the pilgrims to make offers to the holy relics, which were given by the Pope, for having his absolution but everyone got very angry because they knew those weren’t real relics.

Chaucer, the Church and Pilgrimages:
Monk Monaco Parson Parroco
Christianity Cristianità Relic Reliquia
Shrine Santuario-reliquiario Tavern-keeper Proprietario della taverna
Pilgrimage Pellegrinaggio Depicted Raffigurato
Chancellor Cancelliere Accommodation Alloggio
To rid Liberare da Satirize Fare satira su
Papacy Papato Damanging Dannosa
Priest Prete

Summary: Geoffrey Chaucer’s pilgrims are travelling to Canterbury for visiting the tomb of Thomas Beckett in the Cathedral that was built in 597 when the Pope sent Saint Augustine to revive Christianity in England. In 1170 the King Henry II assassinated Thomas Beckett in the Cathedral because Thomas had fought very hard for Church’s rights against the King. Two centuries later during Geoffrey Chaucer’s time the Catholic Church was in great difficulty. The French Popo Gregory XI decided to move the papacy from Avignon to Rome after 70 years, because the Church had a reputation of corruption at that time. After Gregory’s death the Italian Pope Urban VI was elected, but, as he soon became unpopular, many cardinals elected an antipope, Clement VII, who returned to Avignon. This situation only ended in 1414 after Chaucer’s death. Even if Chaucer has never criticized the Church’s corruption, The Canterbury Tales shows the Church’s state of decline with characters like the Monk, the Nun, the Priest with their interests in wine, having fun, and by selling false holy relics. Many studied thinks that the tavern keeper represents Christ as he is the only character who isn’t described, he offers people food, appears many times in the poem with his kindness. At Geoffrey Chaucer’s time pilgrimages were common, especially the one to Canterbury. Even if there are many pilgrimages in Boulogne, Rome and Santiago the oldest and most famous one is the Via Francigena from Rome to Canterbury (across France and Switzerland). Via Francigena is 2,000 km long and it takes 1 month to complete.
Chapter 4:
Widow Vedova To groan Gemere
Fence Recinto Coward Codardo
Cock-a-doodle-doo Chicchirichi Perch Posatoio per uccelli
Reliable Affidabile Bile Ira
Jet Pietra Worm Verme
Dawn Alba To seize Agguantare
Courteous Cortese Flattery Complimento
Discreet Discreto Hive sciame
Hen Gallina Breeches Pantaloni
To cluck Chiocciare To bark Latrare
Geese Oca Negligent Disattento, negligente

Summary: The nun’s tale talks about a widow who lived in a modest farm and had a rooster called Chanticleer who had the best cock-a-doodle-doo of the entire village. The hen had seven hens, including wives and sisters, but his favourite was Mademoiselle Pertelote. One day, Chanticleer sat near Mademoiselle Pertelote and told her that he was very scared because he had dreamt of a terrible creature kidnapping him. The hen was a bit disappointed and told him to go away because she didn’t want to love a coward who’s afraid of dreams, so Chanticleer, after talking about the fact that many times dreams come true, flew back to the yard. Suddenly a fox hidden in the bushes came out, frighten the hens, and told Chanticleer to sing loud because he had heard that he had the best cock-a-doodle-doo of the village. But, when Chantileer was about to sing, the fox grab him with his mouth and took him away passing through the farm. During that moment all the animals including hens, pigs and geese were screaming so loud that the yard looked like hell. The cock said to the fox to tell everyone to shut up and told them that he would have eaten him soon. As the fox answered, Chaticleer flew out the fox’s mouth and sat on a three, and, even if the fox tried to persuade him, he stayed there and said that they were both foolish. This tale shows us what happens when we are negligent and listen to flattery.
Chapter 5:
Tribulation Tribolazione To rip out Strappare
Nun Suora Maiden Ragazza nubile
Friar Frate Tossed Agitato
To fry Friggere Turned Sconvolto
Grease Grasso-olio Branch Ramo
Merry Felice Wise Saggio
Riches Ricchezza Miser Tirchio
Blade Lama Resistance Resistenza

Summary: The Bath’s Tale talks about a knight who once saw a pretty lady and had her despite her resistance. When all the people found out what happened to the girl, they wanted the knight to die but the Queen had mercy on him and told him to find what women want the most from a man and told her one year later, so, based on the answer, he would have killed or saved him. The knight travelled and asked all the women what they wanted the most from a relationship but he received many different answers. One day he met an old and ugly woman who promised him to save his life in charge of a big favour, and then the woman told him the answer. The next day the Knight told the Queen that what women want the most is to have the power over their lovers and to have the last word on everything. The Queen and all the ladies agreed and they set the knight free. Then, he went back to the old woman to keep the promise and the woman told him to marry her, so he did even if he was disgusted. The first night of their marriage had been awful and the poor woman was disappointed and sad too, because she knew that her husband was unhappy because of his ugliness. So the poor woman let him decide between two choices: to have her ugly and old until she dies but true and modest or to have her beautiful and compete with other men. The knight told her to choose whatever could make her happy so they kissed and went to sleep. When the knight woke up, he saw that the old woman had turned into a beautiful young woman, so they kissed a hundred time and lived happily ever after.
Chapter 6:
Discontent Malcontento Torn Lacerato
Feast Festino – banchetto Ashamed Vergognoso
To astonish Stupire Marquis Marchese
To tremble Tremare To menace Minacciare
Counterfeit Falso To torment Tormentare
Dispensation Dispensa To charm Affascinare
Smock Camicie Injustice Ingiustizia
To set the table Preparare la tavola

Summary: The Clerk’s Tale talks about the rich and loved King of Saluzzo who never thought about getting married. As his people weren’t happy about it, he decided to choose a girl and marry her. The lucky one was Griselda, a young, beautiful and modest labourer whose father was Janicula. When they got married Griselda promised his husband to do whatever the king wanted her to do without complaining. They soon had two children a girl and a boy who were immediately took away by a sergeant, according to the King’s wish to test his wife’s fidelity. The king also received a fake dispensation from the Pope where it was said to marry another woman in order to calm the hate of his people. Griselda was soon sent home without complaining and she returned to be a normal labourer with his father. During the day of the King’s new marriage, Griselda when to see the bride with the two children and also told the king that she had never seen such beauty before and she wished them pleasure and happiness. After that, the King said that it was enough and told Griselda that her two children had been sent to Bologna and they were at the palace in that moment and he also said that everything, including the fake wedding, had been prepared to test her loyalty. The maids dressed Griselda with an amazing dress and brought her a crown and the lived happily ever after as the King and the Queen of Saluzzo with their two children.
The Italian connection:
Accessible Accessibile To spread Diffondersi
Vernacular Dialetto To arrange Pianificato
Frame Cornice Paradoxically Paradossalmente
Format Formato Patron Patrono
Realism Realismo Intentionally Intenzionalmente
Device Meccanismo To adapt Adattare
Iambic Giambico Literary Letterario
Courtly Raffinato Chastity Castità
Fidelity Fedeltà Iambic pentameter Pentametro iambico

Summary: As a diplomat Chaucer’s been sent on missions to Italy where he read work of Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch, this was very important for his literary style. Chaucer decided to write his poems in Middle English, which is similar to modern English, so it would have been accessible to everyone. The Canterbury Tales is a frame story where the frame is the pilgrimage to Canterbury. This frame is very similar to Dante’s through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise and Boccaccio’s Decameron. In the mediaeval times, many poets used to take stories from other authors and rewrite them; also, Chaucer said that the beginning of his opera The Clerk of Oxford’s Tale comes from Petrarch. Another common mediaeval device was the dream vision in which the author wanted to give the reader a message that cannot be always explained in the realistic context of the story. Talking about rhyme Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch used the eleven- syllable -lines (The Italian line) and Chaucer had probably copied this adding pauses to adapt to English syllables. The main subject was love. At the time, marriages were arranged so it was necessary to look for romance outside marriage like Dante’s Beatrice and Petrarch’s Laura. It seems that Chaucer’s marriage has been an arranged one too, but he may have been in love with Blanche, his patron’s wife.

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