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The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer
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Write a character analysis of one the characters from Canterbury Tales. Consider the monk, the friar, the franklin, and the parson. Select one of these four characters which you would like to study and read Chaucer's description of him in the "Prologue." Remember that Chaucer may sound objective in his description but may actually be subtly negative or satirical toward that character. Record your impressions of the personality of your chosen character from the "Prologue" description. Physical appearance and dress are not directly character traits, but they may give you clues as to personality as well. Read the prologue and any afterward (it's context in The Canterbury Tales) to the tale told by the character you have chosen to gain more insight and see any comments made about the character by the other pilgrims. You do not need to read the tale itself. Write a study of the character you have chosen, including what you have learned from the "Prologue," from the comments, and from your own insights into the character. Use direct evidence from the text to support your observations. Do not just quote lines, but explain what the lines illustrate about character. Remember to document your quotes according to MLA format (or the format assigned by your teacher). Your finished essay should be at least 250 words long.

Information about the Franklin's character can be found on pages 12 and 408 of Nevill Coghill's translation of "The Canterbury Tales." The Franklin lives a lavish lifestyle even though he is not of noble birth. The Franklin is not familiar with the art of rhetoric and his actions makes this apparent within the listed citations.

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The Franklin of "The Canterbury Tales" is a bright and jovial man who appears to live a comfortable and rich lifestyle. In the general prologue , Chaucer provides a brief description of the Franklin's lavish lifestyle. The Franklin loves to eat and enjoys "a morning sop of cake...

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The Franklin of "The Canterbury Tales" is a bright and jovial man who appears to live a comfortable and rich lifestyle. In the general prologue, Chaucer provides a brief description of the Franklin's lavish lifestyle. The Franklin loves to eat and enjoys "a morning sop of cake in wine" (pg 12). The Franklin possesses a stock of goods so large that it is practically "snowing with meat and drink and all the dainties that a man could think" (pg 12). These quotations illustrate how the Franklin can afford to treat himself and highlights his comfortable lifestyle.

Before the Franklin narrates his tale, he mentions that "[he is not] a cultivated man, [and] to excuse [him] of [his] untutored speech" (pg 408). It is important to keep in mind that, in general, a "Franklin" is a landowner of free birth, but not of nobility. It is also important to note that in this particular time period, religious figures and nobility were the only individuals who could afford proper education. The Franklin, although rich, was not born from nobility and was "never taught the [art of] rhetoric" (pg 408). There is not any commentary listed at the end of the Franklin's speech. Overall, despite the Franklin's shortcomings, he confidently illustrates his tale with ease.

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