General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales Questions and Answers
by Geoffrey Chaucer

Start Your Free Trial

What are the features of characterization in the "General Prologue" of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales?

Expert Answers info

Eleanora Howe eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write653 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

The other answer to this question does a really good job of providing a wide range of all the many ways that Chaucer characterizes his protagonists. I'd like to add one more feature of characterization to this list: occupation/work. As careful as Chaucer is to describe the attitudes and physical features of his characters, he is just as careful to define them in terms of their job or social class; indeed, though some of the characters have names, Chaucer usually refers to them by their occupation: the Knight, the Miller, the Friar, the Carpenter, the Dyer, the Weaver, etc. By doing so, Chaucer foregrounds the importance of social diversity in his cast of characters, highlighting many different social classes rather than focusing on the nobility, such as the Knight. Overall, this method of characterization leads to a poem of many voices and perspectives, rather than a monolithic narrative coming from only one consciousness. It also references a subtle shift in the social structure of...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 547 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Tamara K. H. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write3,619 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences





Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial