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They include poetry by Ovidthe Bible in one of the many vulgate versions in which it was available at the time the exact one is difficult to determineand the works of Petrarch and Dante. Chaucer was the first author to use the work of these last two, both Italians.

Boethius ' Consolation of Philosophy appears in several tales, as the works of John Gower do. Gower was a known friend to Chaucer. A full list is impossible to outline in little space, but Chaucer also, lastly, seems to have borrowed from numerous religious encyclopaedias and liturgical writings, such as John Bromyard 's Summa praedicantiuma preacher's handbook, and Jerome 's Adversus Jovinianum.

Chaucer's Tales differs from most other story "collections" in this genre chiefly in its intense variation. Most story collections focused on a theme, usually a religious one. Even in the Decameron, storytellers are encouraged to stick to the theme decided on for the day. The idea of a pilgrimage to get such a diverse collection of people together for literary purposes was also unprecedented, though "the association of pilgrims and storytelling was a familiar one".

In the General Prologue, Chaucer describes not the tales to be told, but the people who will tell them, making it clear that structure will depend on the characters rather than a general theme or moral. This idea is reinforced when the Miller interrupts to tell his tale after the Knight has finished his.

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Having the Knight go first gives one the idea that all will tell their stories by class, with the Monk following the Knight. However, the Miller's interruption makes it clear that this structure will be abandoned in favour of a free and open exchange of stories among all classes present. General themes and points of view arise as the characters tell their tales, which are responded to by other characters in their own tales, sometimes after a long lapse in which the theme has not been addressed.

His writing of the story seems focused primarily on the stories being told, and not on the pilgrimage itself. Medieval schools of rhetoric at the time encouraged such diversity, dividing literature as Virgil suggests into high, middle, and low styles as measured by the density of rhetorical forms and vocabulary. Another popular method of division came from St.

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Augustinewho focused more on audience response and less on subject matter a Virgilian concern. Augustine divided literature into "majestic persuades", "temperate pleases", and "subdued teaches". Writers were encouraged to write in a way that kept in mind the speaker, subject, audience, purpose, manner, and occasion.

Chaucer moves freely between all of these styles, showing favouritism to none. Thus Chaucer's work far surpasses the ability of any single medieval theory to uncover.

However, even the lowest characters, such as the Miller, show surprising rhetorical ability, although their subject matter is more lowbrow. Vocabulary also plays an important part, as those of the higher classes refer to a woman as a "lady", while the lower classes use the word "wenche", with no exceptions.

At times the same word will mean entirely different things between classes. The word "pitee", for example, is a noble concept to the upper classes, while in the Merchant's Tale it refers to sexual intercourse.

Again, however, tales such as the Nun's Priest's Tale show surprising skill with words among the lower classes of the group, while the Knight's Tale is at times extremely simple. It is a decasyllable line, probably borrowed from French and Italian forms, with riding rhyme and, occasionally, a caesura in the middle of a line. His meter would later develop into the heroic meter of the 15th and 16th centuries and is an ancestor of iambic pentameter.

He avoids allowing couplets to become too prominent in the poem, and four of the tales the Man of Law's, Clerk's, Prioress', and Second Nun's use rhyme royal. The Canterbury Tales was written during a turbulent time in English history. The Catholic Church was in the midst of the Western Schism and, although it was still the only Christian authority in Europe, it was the subject of heavy controversy.

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Lollardyan early English religious movement led by John Wycliffeis mentioned in the Tales, which also mention a specific incident involving pardoners sellers of indulgenceswhich were believed to relieve the temporal punishment due for sins that were already forgiven in the Sacrament of Confession who nefariously claimed to be collecting for St.

Mary Rouncesval hospital in England. The Canterbury Tales is among the first English literary works to mention paper, a relatively new invention that allowed dissemination of the written word never before seen in England. Political clashes, such as the Peasants' Revolt and clashes ending in the deposing of King Richard IIfurther reveal the complex turmoil surrounding Chaucer in the time of the Tales' writing. Many of his close friends were executed and he himself moved to Kent to get away from events in London.

After analysis of Chaucer's diction and historical context, his work appears to develop a critique of society during his lifetime. Within a number of his descriptions, his comments can appear complimentary in nature, but through clever language, the statements are ultimately critical of the pilgrim's actions. It is unclear whether Chaucer would intend for the reader to link his characters with actual persons.

Instead, it appears that Chaucer creates fictional characters to be general representations of people in such fields of work. With an understanding of medieval society, one can detect subtle satire at work. After the Black Deathmany Europeans began to question the authority of the established Church. It depends on how much invisible "dark matter" there is and whether its gravitational attraction can reverse the expansion of the universe.

The ultimate irony would be for scientists in the remote future to conclude that the universe is open and therefore will last forever and be interrupted in their deliberations by the Big Crunch.

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Mr Lloyd says that the universe is necessarily infinite. Again, he is being definite about a contentious scientific debate. The best way to describe the universe is to think of it as an expanding sphere with the planets, stars, galaxies and everything on the surface. It has no boundaries, but is still finite. Peter Stockill, Berwick Hills, Middlesbrough. Paul Hannigan, pol magna. John Barberio, Oxford brookes. The Greek word "eironeia" is related to the infinitive "eirein" which means "to speak.

The word Greek word "sarkasmos," however, is related to the infinitive "sarkazein" which means "to tear the flesh like dogs" The root of the word is "sarx" or "sarkos" which means "flesh. Tim Nice-but-dim, Cambridge, Cambs.

The Canterbury Tales - Wikipedia

Alannis Morrisette's song 'Isn't it ironic? Possibly intentionally ironically unironic, but perhaps just a confused Canadian? They're just "bloody typical" or rather annoying, or downright weird. I'd be quite shocked to suddenly find 10 forks, myself, when I was just looking for a knife Does that make it any more ironic?

Marcus Hake, London You're damned if you do - and you're damned if you don't. Big Stu, Harrogate, Yorkshire Alanis Morrisette's line would be ironic if on the day before all you had needed was a spoon and you could only find 10, knives.