It includes mom information about the author himself and his art which I consider essential to the understanding of the poem. The Age of Chaucer Historical Background Throughout the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, and the early Renaissance, we can trace, in the rise and fall of national literatures, the successions of war and peace which made the development of Europe so difficult and so uneven. Besides wars and crusades, there were other convulsions quite as grievous: for instance, the Black Death, which killed hundreds of people.
The Danish conquest, first, and then the Norman conquest had virtually taken Britain out of the current f European literature while French, and Provender, and Italian literature were building up. Now, in the fourteenth century, French literature almost died away because France was caught in the Hundred Year War. Italian literature had begun its mighty ascent, and continued with Patriarch and Vacation . Provender culture was almost totally destroyed in the crusade preached against the Albanians heretics by the Roman Catholic Church.
Although England too had its plagues and troubles in this same century, it developed a character which it has never yet lost, and which was best exemplified, for this time, in Geoffrey Chaucer, he Father of English Poetry. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340? -1400) The greatest poet of the Middle English period was the son of a wealthy wine- merchant of powerful connections. As a boy he was a page to the Countess of Ulster, and later was employed as a valet in the Royal household. In 1359, serving with the English army in France, he was taken prisoner and King Edward Ill subscribed E 16 upon the payment of his ransom.
Thereafter he spent many years in the service of his king. In 1372-3 he was sent to Genoa on a commercial mission; in 1374 he was appointed Comptroller of the Customs for the Port of London; in 1385 he was appointed Justice of the Peace for Kent; and in 1386 he was elected Member of Parliament. His last years were spent at Greenwich, where he died in 1400. He was the first poet to be buried in what is now known as Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey. His Art Saucer’s public career must have greatly enriched his observation and his stock of ideas. In Italy, he found himself in the midst of the flourishing Renaissance.
Thus, he developed into a pre-Renaissance writer addressing a medieval English audience. His works are conventionally divided into three hierological groups; his French period (to 1372), his Italian period (1372-1385) and his English period (1385-1400). In his French period, he wrote The Book of the Duchess and translated a large fragment of Lee Roman De la Rose,by Gallium De Loris and Jean De Menus. In his Italian period, when Chaucer exhibits the influence of the great Italian writers, namely Vacation, he wrote The House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls, Turmoil and Exercised and The Legend of Good Women.
The Canterbury Tales and a few shorter poems comprise Saucer’s English period. He was a man of wide learning and wrote with ease on elision, philosophy, ethics, science, rhetoric. Master of verse as Chaucer was, he introduced into English poetry many verse forms: the heroic couplet, the rhyme royal, the terra Irma, and the statistically verse. Turmoil and Exercised (1372-1387) The poem deals with the love of Turmoil, a knight among the Trojan warriors defending Troy, for the beautiful young widow Exercised, the daughter of the priest Clash.
Turmoil enlists the aid of her sly uncle, Panders, as a result of whose machinations she gives herself to Turmoil. They both swear vows of eternal love. Clash, who has defected to the Greeks, arranges for the exchange f the captive Trojan, Tenor, for his daughter. Exercised promises to come back to Turmoil in ten days but she forgets her vow, does not return, and gives herself to the Greek Dimmed when the latter sues for her love. In every battle thereafter Turmoil learns that his beloved has betrayed him, he seeks vengeance on Dimmed, but in vain, and never meets her again.
Saucer’s Turmoil and Exercised has often been called the first great poem in English Literature. His main immediate source is Vocation’s II Folklorist (which was itself modeled on an Italian plagiarist’s rewriting of a French poet’s adaptation of a late Greek nuance). Throughout, Chaucer is guided by the system of courtly love. The complex characters of Exercised and Panders indicate the writer’s insight into human motives. The rhyme royal stanzas are of much beauty and the pathos of the story is touched upon with deep feeling: If there’s no love, O God! What am I feeling? If there is love, who then, and what,is he?
If love be good, whence comes this sorrow stealing? Wonder it is to me When every torment and adversity That comes of him is savory, to my thinking! The more I thirst, the more would be drinking. (l, 58) Characterization in Vacation and in Chaucer If evil, what a In Vocation’s work, the emotions of Exercised are consistently simple and sensual, in Saucer’s, quite complex and less sensual. Panders is a young gallant, cousin to Exercised and companion to Turmoil in II Folklorist. However, in Turmoil and Exercised, Panders is an old uncle, the wise, morally-blunt commentator on life.
Last but not least, in Vacation, emphasis is placed upon passion, in Chaucer, upon character. Chaucer reveals a greater charity towards the character of Exercised; he ennobles and sentimentalists the character of Turmoil. Some point out that the Englishman has made Exercised the central Geiger; but she is the “artistic centre” of the story while Turmoil is its nucleating figure. The Tenor of Medieval Life There are some characteristics of life in Medieval times which are clearly present in Turmoil and Exercised. For instance, to the people living in Europe six hundred years ago, the outlines of all things seemed more clearly marked than to us.
The contrast between suffering and joy, between adversity and happiness, appears strikingly in the next stanza: How ruefully she stood and stared at Troy, Saw the tall towers and the lofty hall, ‘Alas’ she said, the happiness and joy, That once I had beyond that very wall, But now is turned to bitterness and gall! Turmoil! What are you doing now? She cried, Lord! Do you still give thought to your Exercised? (V, 105) Besides , it was not merely the great facts of birth, marriage and death which were raised to the rank of mysteries, incidents of less importance, like a journey, a task, a visit were equally attended by a thousand formalities.
In the poem we are told how King S;reproduced entertains his guests: And all that could be offered on a table And that was dainty, though it cost the earth, He gave them day by day; there was no dearth, So people said, the greatest and the least; The like was never seen at any feast. And never was a company so fair To look on as the ladies dancing there. Every order and estate, every rank and profession, was distinguished by its costume. As to the knights, they never moved around without a glorious display of arms and liveries, exciting fear and envy.
Let’s see how Exercised and Turmoil are described in their clothes: Dressed in her widow’s weeds of silken brown, And then to see him in his fighting dress, (11,91 His helmet, which was hewn in twenty places, Hung by a tissue down behind his back; His shield was battered in by swords and maces, With arrows lodged in it in many a crack That had pierced horn and rind and sinewy pack; (II ,92, 1-5) It was usual that the lover wore something that belonged to his lady.
The next lines exemplify so: That had been his, she gave to Dimmed And, to console his passion, they believe She made him wear a pennon of her sleeve Coo arty Love Origin There are two different theories as regards the origin of courtly love. One of them states that it originated in the Arabian Empire in the second century, when a sort of love called Baghdad love was practiced among the Arabs. In fact, we can find similar motifs in both Provender courtly poetry and Islamic courtly poetry, especially the exaltation of sexual love and the suffering for the beloved.
Here, it must be pointed out that literature, which copies life, is one of the most important sources from which historians obtain information about those times. Back to courtly poetry, there are those who say that there is not hard evidence to state that courtly love derives from Baghdad love. They say so because, while in European literature the beloved woman was also the lady whom her lover revered, in Western literature, she was also the slave whom her master owned. The other theory, which is the most believable, says that courtly love initiated in southern France.
The Hungarian art critic, Arnold Hauser explains in The Social History of Art that it proceeds from the small courts and the people who are by the princes and overlords, not from the royal courts. This modest background gives the chivalrous culture a less solemn character than that of the royal courts. Courtly Poetry and Some Characteristics of Courtly Love When in the twelfth century unsatisfied desire was placed by the troubadours f Provence in the centre of the poetic conception of love, there was a great change in the history of civilization.
Antiquity, too had sung the sufferings of love, but it had never conceived them save as the expectation of happiness or as its pitiful frustration. Courtly poetry makes desire itself the central motif, and so creates a conception of love with a negative ground-note. Without giving up all connection with sensual love, the new poetic ideal was capable of embracing all kinds of ethical aspirations. Love now became the field where all moral and cultural perfection flowered. Because of this love, the courtly lover is pure and virtuous.
The spiritual element dominates more and more, till towards the end of the thirteenth century. Turmoil’ words reveal he is a pure man: But listen to me,Pandas, just a word! I would not have you think me so demented As to desire – in all that you have heard Anything shameful, or to be repented; I’d rather die. So let her be contented, I mean no villains; make it understood That every thought I have is for her good (1,148) Unlike those times before the twelfth century, when women were regarded as inferior to men, courtly love idealizes women.
The lovers are stricken by the beauty and virtues of their respective ladies, and so is Turmoil: I never have known one of her position So generous, so happy in her mood, So friendly in her speech and disposition, Or one that had more grace in doing good, And how to do it better understood; And, to cap all, as far as honor stretches, Compared to such as she is, Kings are wretches. (1,127) There exists a code of courtly love. Most of the rules were laid down by a monk, Andrea Aquaplanes by name, in De Rate Honest Amanda late in the twelfth century. Rule NON reads “He who is not jealous cannot love”.