Write a comparison of the presentation of at least two of the pilgrims from Chaucer's "General Prologue"
After reading Chaucer’s “General Prologue” I can clearly see that the way in which Chaucer presents “frankelyn” and the “millere” are very different - Write a comparison of the presentation of at least two of the pilgrims from Chaucer's "General Prologue" introduction. Throughout the prologue we can see more of favouritism towards Frankelyn and we can definitely say that Chaucer likes Frankyelyn more than the Millere. Frankyelyn is one of the highest class people on the pilgrimage other than the knights; He is continuously referred to as generous and noble. “It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke” “Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in muwe, And many a breem and many a luce in stuwe. “Was nowher swich a worthy vavasour” And on several occasions he is referred to the colour white which represents purity and innocence. “Whit was his berd as is the dayesye” “whit as morne milk. ”
These references to the colour white and naturalistic images are used to create a positive effect towards Franklyn. However the Miller is the complete contrast. We can see quite clearly that Chaucer doesn’t like the miller, he is portrayed as a low class middle man who is gruesome to look at and a crook. Upon the cop right of his nose he hade A werte, and theron stood a toft of herys, Reed as the brustles of a sowes erys;” Here Chaucer also uses naturalistic imagery but not in the same way as he does for Franklyn. Chaucer uses the naturalistic imagery in a negative way towards the miller unlike the positive way towards Franklyn. The pardoner is considered to be a man of religion, a man of the church. Chaucer does not like the pardoner either but he is wary not to say anything bad about the church as a whole.
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The pardoner is represented with gold and silver colours which emphasises the fact that he is a man who wants money and is a schemer. “To wynne silver” “Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye” He is described with animalistic imagery “Swiche glarynge eyen hadde he as an hare. ” “A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot. ” But he is also described as a thief and a crook similar to the miller “For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer, Which that he seyde was oure lady veyl” “He seyde he hadde a gobet of the seyl That Seint Peter hadde, whan that he wente Upon the see, til Jhesu Crist hym hente.
“He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones, And in a glas he hadde pigges bones. But with thise relikes, whan that he fond A povre person dwellynge upon lond, Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye Than that the person gat in monthes tweye;” So we can say that Chaucer has signified the Pardoner as representing the corruption and perversion inherent within the catholic church.
The miller is described using the colours red and black which symbolises frugality and wickedness. His berd as any sowe or fox was reed,” “Reed as the brustles of a sowes erys;” “His nosethirles blake were and wyde. ” “His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys” And now instead of the negative naturalistic imagery Chaucer uses for the miller he has changed to industrialistic imagery still creating an unlikeable character. The wife of bath is also refered to as red but not in the same way as the miller is. She is referred to red as a sign of lust passion and also could be danger.
“Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,” “Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe. We can link this use of colour in the description of the Wife of Bath back to Franklyn again, she is described using the colours red as I have mentioned giving the impression of danger, lust and passion but whereas Franklyn is associated with the colour white which is coefficient of purity and innocence unlike the Wife of Bath.
There are many metaphors used for Franklyn these are all powerful metaphors and all link to religion which makes the nobility and goodness stand out more in the character of Franklyn. For he was Epicurus owene sone,” “Seint Julian he was in his contree. ” And we see again Chaucer using positive imagery which amplifies that Chaucer obviously likes the character Franklyn more than the other characters. The metaphors used to describe the miller are all industrial and animalistic but negative unlike the character of Franklyn.
The millers in these days were all seen to be thieves, cheats and robbers, and Chaucer tells us exactly what he feels about them. Of a sowes erys” “Wel koude he stelen corn and tollen thries; And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee” these are all contrasts to Franklyn. There is only one simile for Franklyn because metaphors create a more powerful picture and emphasise how noble and highly Chaucer praises Franklyn. His only simile is to describe his purse “whit as morne milk. ” And again reference to the colour white is made which I think means that Chaucer is trying to say that Franklyn has earned his money fairly and has not stolen or conned out of people.
The Millers similes again are contrast to Franklyn’s they are all again negative naturalistic images and negative industrialistic images “His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys” “as any sowe or fox” “as though it were a spade” The wife of bath is different though she is described as being “As brood as is a bokeler or a targe” which is militaristic and kind of send out a warning aswell as her red description. She is also described as gap-toothed which in the 1300s meant that she was well experienced with cohabitation.
Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye” “Not counting other company in youth;” In conclusion there are many differences between the characters in Chaucer’s “General Prologue” Franklyn is seen to be the most honourable, but the rest are portrayed as thieves the wife of bath marring old men and waiting for them to die in order to gain their money. The pardoner scamming people into believing their sins were forgiven if the bought fake items off him and the miller who would tip the scales in order to get himself more money.