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Geoffrey Chaucer

             The known facts, of the historical author Geoffrey Chaucer's life, are like pieces to a puzzle and are based mostly on official records. He was born in London between 1340 and 1344. He was the son of John Chaucer, a vintner. In 1357 Chaucer was a page in the home of Prince Lionel who later became duke of Clarence. In 1359-60 he was with the army of Edward III in France, where he was captured by the French but ransomed. By 1366 he had married Philippa Roet. During the years 1370 to 1378, Chaucer was frequently employed on diplomatic missions to the Continent. From 1374 on he held a number of official positions, among them comptroller of customs on furs, skins, and hides for the port of London (1374-86) and clerk of the king's works (1389-91). To Chaucer's final period, in which he achieved perhaps his best writing ability, belongs his masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, which was written mostly after 1387. This unfinished poem, about 17,000 lines, is considered to be one of the most brilliant works in all literature. The poem introduces a group of pilgrims journeying from London to the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket at Canterbury. To pass time each of the Pilgrims were to tell two stories, one on the way, and one on the way back. Together, the pilgrims represent a wide cross section of 14th-century English life. The pilgrims' tales include a variety of medieval genres from humorous to serious. These stories portray the medieval attitudes and customs in the areas of love, marriage, and religion.
             During this time period the class of a person was very important and often determined the success or failure of an individual. I was surprised to see how stereotypical people were during this time period. As a person living in that time period, you were basically looked at, judged, classified and that's what you were. You were pretty much limited to what you were and the idea of be what you want to be or do what you want to do wasn't taken as lightly then as it is now.

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