The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

1055 Words 5 Pages
Chaucer’s Claim to Fame: Entrepreneurial Skills Seen in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Life Chaucer is not some unknown literary author who is known only by a dozen people in the English field. Besides Shakespeare, Chaucer is probably one of the most well-known contributors to English literature, if not the most well-known. His name is instantly recognizable, and many a high school student learned of him through the oftentimes-painful reading of his most famous work, The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s work is an extremely important text in terms of the evolution of the English language; The Canterbury Tales set itself apart from other literary works at the time by being one of the first pieces of literature to be written in English instead of …show more content…
This decision to get close to the royal family, as well as marrying the queen’s lady-in-waiting, Philippa de Roet, gave Chaucer a position in the nobility that he never would have had access to with just his family’s connections, awarding him both financial stability and publicity for his works (Pollard). Chaucer’s achieved goals and sound decisions allowed him access to the ability to publish poetry and literature, something only accessible to the elite, and gave him the ability to publish Canterbury Tales and make it the popular piece of literature that endured for centuries. However, despite Chaucer’s standing, publishing Canterbury Tales was a risk; specifically, the risk was in publishing the book in English. During the time of the story’s publication, English was almost exclusively spoken by the lower classes, while French and Latin were the language of the bourgeoisie and nobility (Kemmer). While this was slowly changing, English was spoken almost entirely by the illiterate masses, and very few pieces of literature were written in the language at the time (Kemmer). The Canterbury Tales could have been a book with no audience; instead, the risk paid off, and Chaucer’s work became one of the first popular pieces of literature written in Middle English to surface, and some say that the story helped make the language more

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