Cause and Effect Essay About the Genres of the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterburry Tales is the magnus opus of J. Chaucer, which is the original literary work that comprises traditional and innovative elements. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the genre of the book, which may be defined as a frame narrative. In fact, the book consists of different tales narrated by pilgrims and uncovering different aspects of the life of English society of that time. This genre was quite popular in that time and J. Chaucer probably wrote the book under the influence of Boccaccio’s Decameron, which was another sample of frame narrative combining different tales in one literary work. In fact, the genre of the book was determined by several factors, including literary influences on Chaucer and his desire to depict diverse aspects of the life of the society in one book.

In fact, the choice of genre could be determined by various factors but the influence of other writers, including Boccaccio can be clearly traced in the structure and genre of the book. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that Chaucer was on a diplomatic mission in Italy, where he could get acquainted with the literary work created by Boccaccio, Decameron. This literary work could inspire Chaucer to write the book of his own, which used the same genre and allowed the author to convey his ideas to the audience within one book. At any rate, the success of Boccaccio’s book could have inspired Chaucer to use the same genre to reach success in England, where readers were less acquainted with such literary works as Decameron and the genre chosen by Chaucer.

At the same time, Chaucer apparently reworked the genre of the frame narrative because he had introduced several unique elements, which distinguished his book from other literary works created in this genre. To put it more precisely, Chaucer introduced the intense variations in his writing that makes his book quite original and different from other books created in this genre. In fact, his intention to diversify the book was implemented through the writers’ competition, which allows the audience determining which writer is the best, while Chaucer was actually the only author of the book. In such a way, he uses the diversity of stories narrated in the course of the book to use different styles and different narrations. At the same time, narratives occur within the same framework since all stories are narrated by pilgrims and relate to the religious theme, which was the traditional theme for such books created in that time. The writers’ competition allows the author to uncover different problems and issues raised by different writers in their narratives.

At the same time, the genre remains unchangeable throughout the book although the author shifts from verse to prose and vice versa. Such changes are quite unexpected but they are probably done to convey the spirit of the competition rather than to change the genre of the entire book. In such a way, experiments with the writing style, changes from prose to verse and vice versa occur within the frame narrative and diversify the book and stories to reach the desire effect, which Chaucer wanted his book to have on the audience. The religious theme is the core of the frame narrative but this theme and genre are still distinct compared to other writers. Chaucer uses the genre of frame narrative to uncover the diversity of issues, which he raises in the course of the book. Moreover, narratives focus on different issues, which are not necessarily religious. What make all the stories close to the theme of religion is the background of pilgrims. As they are pilgrims they inevitably are associated with religious theme in the book. In such a way, the genre of the book helps to the author to diversify it and shift from one-sided presentation of different issues, which he discusses in his book to the diversified view on those issues and problems. At this point, the distinct feature of the book is the depiction of narrators in the prologue story. The description of each narrator prepares the audience to the perception of each tale. In other words, the author reaches the desired effect of each story through depicting the character, who narrates the tale. As a result, the audience perceives the tale taking into consideration what kind of character is narrating it that helps Chaucer to convey specific ideas to the audience.

Thus, the genre of The Canterbury Tales is the frame narrative, which is likely to be influenced by other writers creating similar works using the same genre like Decameron by Boccaccio. However, Chaucer being inspired by other literary works made his book distinct from others. He uses the genre of frame narrative to diversify his book and narrative style to show not only different issues but also different characters, which he describes at the beginning of the book.

 

Works Cited:

Chaucer, J. The Canterbury Tales. New York: Penguin Classics, 2013.

Bisson, Lillian. Chaucer and the Late Medieval World. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998.

Cooper, Helen. The Canterbury Tales. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1996.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016.

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freeessays.club (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: January 20, 2022]
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