The
Medieval
Period
(10661485)
I. The Reign of William the Conqueror
A. Centralized England's
power – He appointed
representatives
to collect taxes, organize
the military, and
supervise legal
matters
I. The Reign of William the Conqueror
B. Domesday Book (1086) An inventory of nearly every
piece of property in England
(land, cattle, buildings, etc.).
First time in European history
that people would be taxed
based upon what they owned.
"Doomsday Book" implies that
all would be judged upon
worth and without bias and
suggests a comparison between
the king's judgment of people's
financial worth and God's final
judgment of people’s moral
worth.
II. The Feudal System
A. King owned all the
land in the kingdom
B. Division: One fourth
of the land was given to
the church; One fourth
kept for the king; the
remaining land was
distributed to nobles in
exchange for payment or
military services
(knights)
II. The Feudal System (cont’d)
C. Nobles gave bits of land
to lesser nobles, who gave
bits to followers, servants,
etc. At the bottom of the
social ladder were… the
conquered Anglo-Saxons,
most of whom were serfs--peasants bound to land
they could not own but
who worked for the lord
in exchange for protection
and land to grow food
(most of which was paid
to the lord as a tax).
III. Monarchy after William
l. Reformed the
judicial system,
established
system of juries,
formed basis for
English common
law.
Henry I (11001135) – Known for
social reform
Henry II
(1154-1189)
2. Appointed
Thomas a Becket
as archbishop of
Canterbury
III. Monarchy after William (cont’d)
C. Richard I (1189-1I99) "Richard the Lion-Hearted"
spent most of his ten-year reign
fighting in Crusades and in
France; during his absences, his
brother John (villain of many
Robin Hood legends) plotted
against him.
D. King John (1199-1216) Forced to sign the Magna Carta
(l215), which began the
limitations of the monarchy
and granted more power to the
barons (early step toward
democracy)
III. Monarchy after William (cont’d)
E. Edward I (1272-1307) Established the Model
Parliament of 1295
(House of Commons
and House of Lords)
IV. Decline of Feudalism
A. Growth of commoners’
power led to growth of
towns and increase in
trade.
B. Wool… became the
greatest and most
important industry.
C. Mills… established
opportunities for serfs
to escape feudal
system.
IV. Decline of Feudalism (cont’d)
D. Guilds - Organizations
(unions) formed to control the
flow and price of goods and to
set up rules for advancing from
apprentice to master craftsman.
E. Towns became artistic and
cultural centers: churches, fairs,
markets, etc.
F. Education… began to lose
church affiliation; universities
became centers of learning
(Oxford, 1248)
IV. Decline of Feudalism (cont’d)
G. Black Death
(bubonic plague)
(1348-49) –
Reduced the nation's
population by one
third, causing a labor
shortage and more
leverage for the lower
classes against their
overlords.
V. Religious Changes
A. Crusades (1095-1270) - Series of wars waged by
European Christians against the Muslims, with Jerusalem
and the Holy Land as the prize. Contact with the Middle
East civilization brought extensive diversity to England's
architecture, crafts, mathematics, astronomy and various
facets of more sophisticated culture.
B. Medieval Church
fostered a cultural
unity- It offered one
system of belief that
transcended the
national cultures of
Europe
V. Religious Changes (cont’d)
C. Thomas a Becket - Appointed
Archbishop of Canterbury by
King Henry II, a close friend.
When Becket took the pope's
side of issues more often than
Henry hoped, Becket was
murdered in his own cathedral
by four of Henry's knights upon
order of Henry. Public outrage
led to devotion and sainthood.
D. Corruption led to religious
reformers - John Wycliffe
produced first complete
translation of Bible into English
VI. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400)
A. Born in London between
1340 and 1344; son of a
successful wine and leather
merchant.
B. As a boy, he worked as a
page for Prince Lionel, son of
Edward III.
C. Spoke French (the language
of the court), Latin (the
language of the church), and
Italian (the language of
many artists and poets) and
translated literary works in
all three languages.
VI. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400)
D. He rose quickly from his position
as page to "esquire" (or "squire"),
candidate for knighthood, but he
continued to have a high
understanding of and interest in
the common people.
E. He had a remarkable and vast
career serving as… soldier,
diplomat, civil servant, courtier to
three kings, translator , and poet.
His experiences gave him the
opportunity to observe people and
study their characteristics.
VI. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400)
F. He survived being taken
prisoner by the French.
G. He wrote numerous poems
and tales, but The Canterbury
Tales is known to be his
masterpiece.
H. While French was being
widely spoken amongst the
educated, Chaucer spoke and
wrote in Middle English,
making English more
respectable in the world of
literature.
VI. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400)
I. Observed and
experienced the various
classes of social order,
giving him great insight
as a writer. He was a
storyteller, a satirist, a
reformer, and a
celebrator of life.
J. Known as… "the father
of English literature“
Literary Devices Used by Chaucer
Characterization – The methods a writer uses to present the
personality of a character; how the author develops the
characters in a work of literature.
Writers use both DIRECT and INDIRECT Characterization
Direct Characterization – When the writer tells the reader exactly
what kind of person the character is (if the person is disgusting
and has despicable habits, if they are especially kind or noble,
etc.)
Indirect Characterization – When the writer makes the reader
figure out what kind of person the character is. The reader may
see the character in action, hear the character speak, and hear
others talk about him or her, but the reader must make his/her
own generalizations about the character (whether the character is
good or bad, trustworthy or sneaky, cruel or kind, etc.)
Literary Devices Used by Chaucer
Three Levels or TYPES of Characterization:
Physical Characterization – The actual
physical description that the author portrays
of the character’s appearance. What the
character looks like, is wearing, the age of the
character, etc.
Social Characterization – The character’s
behavior and attitude toward other characters
(kind, cruel, greedy, generous, etc.)
Psychological Characterization – The
character’s thoughts and feelings
(angry, happy, sad, lonely, etc.)
Literary Devices Used by Chaucer
Chaucer Examples of Characterization
“High on his horse he sat, / upon his head a
Flemish beaver hat / and on his feet daintily
buckled boots.”
PHYSICAL
CHARACTERIZATION
“In all the parish not a
dame dared stir /
Towards the altar steps
in front of her, / And if
indeed they did, so
wrath was she / As to be
quite put out of charity”
SOCIAL
CHARACTERIZATION
Literary Devices Used by Chaucer
Chaucer Examples of Characterization
“For though a widow mightn’t have a
shoe, / So pleasant was his holy howd’ye-do / He got his farthing from her
just the same.” SOCIAL
CHARACTERIZATION
“As for her sympathies and tender
feelings, / She was so charitably
solicitous / She used to weep if she
but saw a mouse / Caught in a
trap…”
PSYCHOLOGICAL
CHARACTERIZATION
Literary Devices Used by Chaucer
Satire – The act of ridiculing human vices and follies; the
word comes from the Greek word satura meaning
“medley” or a mixture of things.
Mockery – Subject of laughter, scorn, or ridicule
Parody – Mocking imitation of a known person, literary
work, movie, or event
Mock-Heroic – Imitation of the literary epic and its style by
exaggeration and distortion and by elevating the trivial to a
level higher than it deserves
Sarcasm – Using praise to personally mock someone; the
word comes from the Greek word sarkazein meaning “to
tear flesh”
Literary Devices Used by Chaucer
Verbal Irony – A double meaning; saying one thing and
meaning another
Understatement – Implying the opposite by saying less
than you mean to say
Overstatement – Exaggeration by saying more than you
mean to say
Bathos – Going quickly from the sublime or serious to the
ridiculous or to over sentimentalize
Literary Devices Used by Chaucer
Framing (Frame Story) – When an author uses a structure of a
story within a story; a frame story leads a reader from one larger
or “outer” story into a smaller story or series of smaller stories.
Examples:
 The Book of One Thousand and One (Arabian) Nights – The
main narrator tells a series of fairy tales to the Sultan over a
time period of several nights.
 The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio – A group of people
staying in the country to wait out the plague tell a series of
several stories to pass the time (this is the piece off of which
Chaucer bases his Canterbury Tales)
 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley—Three narrators within the
novel each provide a different perspective on events of the plot.
 Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer – The pilgrims traveling
to Canterbury all take turns telling stories along the way.
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