Geoffrey Chaucer’s Work Analysis

The history of Valentine’s Day - Geoffrey Chaucer

http://www.swide.com/art-culture/society/the-history-of-valentine-day/2014/02/13

History of Geoffrey Chaucer:

Geoffrey Chaucer was a well known English poet he was born in London, England in 1340. The Canterbury Tale series is unfinished and this is his life’s work in which he is best known for. According to the article i read about Geoffrey that he had attended St. Paul’s Cathedral  were he became influenced in writing and poetry. He became a public Servant in 1357 and later joined the army in which he fought in the the Hundred year war with France. During the war he was captured at Rethel and with Chaucer having royal connections with King Edward III, the King helped with paying the ransom so he could be let free. “After Chaucer’s release, he joined the Royal Service, traveling throughout France, Spain and Italy on diplomatic missions throughout the early to mid 1360s. In 1366, Chaucer married Philippa Roet, the daughter of Sir Payne Roet, and the marriage conveniently helped further Chaucer’s career in the English court.” Quoted from my first source.King Edward III made Chaucer one of his enquirers in 1368. After this promotion from the King it advanced Chaucer and Philippa in there ranks. During 1370 to 1377 he went on a diplomatic mission in Genoa and Florence in order to establish an English port in the  city of Genoa. During this time while he was in Genoa and Florence he became familiarized on the work of Dante and Petrarch Italian poets while he was traveling through Italy.”In 1377 and 1388, Chaucer engaged in yet more diplomatic missions, with the objectives of finding a French wife for Richard II and securing military aid in Italy. Busy with his duties, Chaucer had little time to devote to writing poetry, his true passion. In 1385 he petitioned for temporary leave.” Also quoted from my first source, In 1387, Philippa passed away and Chaucer decided to stop working for the royalty and to go back to public services to work.

The Parliament of Fowls is a series of poems that were written over many years and to this day it can not be determined when exactly all the poems were written. Many believe that his series was not finished because things were missing. I personally looked at the poem, The Legend of Good Women poem and did some analysis. Many scholars believe that this poem was written during the time period when Chaucer was on the mission to find Richard II s wife, Anne of Bohemia. Chaucer used a different type of format in the Legend of Good Women by using small narratives throughout this poem to tell the story.

The English poet died in London, England on October 25,1400. Chaucer was  60 years old and died of unknown causes an was buried in Westminster Abby. The headstone that was placed to represent the burial place of Chaucer is in the middle and is known as Poet’s Corner. There were  many other poets that were later buried here with Chaucer to honor them.


My response to these poems. First the Parliament of Fowls

Should they be read strictly as birds? Should they be read as stand-ins for, or allegorical figures of, human beings? How does reading them specifically as birds, or specifically as bird representations of humans, change how we can interpret the poem’s meaning?

This poem that Chaucer has written has a very deep underlying meaning to it. I believe that he was having problems with finding his soul mate he wanted to find love. He choose to use birds as the character in the poem, I think to steer the reader into thinking that this poem was not about him. I think the birds should be strictly read as humans and as a symbol of how love should be between two. In my opinion the birds represent humans in a way that he saw people and how their actions are with one another. When reading this as the birds being the humans it gives the impression that Chaucer wants to find love and by saying birds are just birds it would change the meaning of the poem to him dreaming/studying a birds way of mating. Chaucer had a reason to write this beautiful poem but we will never no his exact intentions.

What kind of ending does the “Parliament of Fowls” have? Can it be considered a happy ending? Is it an unhappy ending? Or is it too ambiguous to decide?

“And with the showtynge whan hir song was do,

That foules made at her flight away,

I wooke, and other bookes toke me to,

To red upon, and yet I rede always,

I hope, iwis, to rede so, someday,

That I shal mete some thyng for to far

The bet, and thus to rede I nyl not spare.”

I think this poem has a happy ending to some and an upsetting ending for many. The majority of the birds found there soul mates at the end of the dream and are very happy, but what about the rest of the eagles that could not find there special mate. The end of the poem gives me sadness that this one bird is still looking for their match. Looking at humans this is what happens people look all their lives for that special someone to be a part of their lives and some find them and others just keep looking hoping and praying one will come along. I believe this is what Chaucer wanted to reveal to the public that love can be a hard thing to find and keep but once you have it hold on to it.

Then the second Legend of Good Women:

Think about the legends and the notions of “women’s honor”, “women’s strength”, and “women’s heroism.” How does Chaucer characterize these things in his female figures and their stories? Give a specific quote or set of quotes in support of your claims.

“This blade may ful wel y-songen be,

As is have seyd erst, by my lady free,

For certeynly alle these mow nat

            suffyse

To apperen with my lady I no wyse.

For as the sonne wol the fyr disteyne,

So passeth al my lady sovereyne,

That is so good, so fair, so debonaire,

I prey to God that ever fake his faire!

For, nadde comfort been for hir

            Presence,”

This is just one example of how the LOGW honor the mans lady to be superior over the rest of the women in the town. This is part of a song the man wrote in honor of his lady talking about how wonderful she is and that she above everything. The man gives this women strength and describe her as beautiful dressed in green with a crown around her golden bright locks of hair. Chaucer describes the women as morally good and something that can only be touched when it comes to love. This poem was beautiful but at times I felt it was difficult because Chaucer also gave a lot of power to the men also.


These poems are all very important t have a better understand of Geoffrey Chaucer and the type of man he was All of the poems written by Chaucer had to do with Love and Christianity. These poems helped the world to be introduced to what we now kow to be Valentines Day!!!


1.”Geoffrey Chaucer.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.

2.http://www.bartleby.com/40/0101.html

3.Elizabeth Hayes Smith. Kissel, Adam ed. “The Book of the Duchess and Other Poems The Parliament of Fowls, Proem (Lines 1-119) Summary and Analysis”. GradeSaver, 16 March 2008 Web. 24 February 2015.

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