Part 3: Analyze Craft and Structure The Prologue (Full-Text PDF) Chaucer's twenty-nine pilgrims are among the most colorful groups of characters in...
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Part 3: Analyze Craft and StructurecharacterizationDirect Characterization

The Prologue (Full-Text PDF)

Chaucer's twenty-nine pilgrims are among the most colorful groups of characters in literature. To create their vivid personalities, Chaucer uses different methods of , or literary techniques that reveal characters' traits.

- direct statements about a character

  • Examples: "There was a Knight, a most distinguished man"; the Knight "followed chivalry..."

Indirect Characterization - the presentation of a character's actions, thoughts, words, and appearance


  • Example: "Speaking of his equipment, he possessed / Fine horses, but he was not gaily dressed."


Each character in the poem represents a different segment of society in Chaucer's time. By using characterization to reveal the virtues and faults of each, Chaucer provides social commentary, writing that offers insight into society, its values, and its customs. 


DIRECTIONS: Answer each question in complete sentences.



  1. In lines 122-166, identify one example of direct and one example of indirect characterization of the Prioress. How do these details constitute a negative social commentary on the Prioress?

 


  1. What surface impression of the Friar is created in lines 212-279? Which details reveal what the speaker really thinks of the Friar? What social commentary is Chaucer making through his characterization of the Friar?

 


  1. Which details in lines 719-726 indirectly characterize the Pardoner? What comment on society is Chaucer making through the Pardoner?

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