Chaucer As a Humorist Essay

2297 WordsMar 12, 201210 Pages
Chaucer as a humorist Humour is an essential ingredient of Chaucer's poetry and the back-bone of “The Prologue and The Canterbury Tales”. All the characters in The Prologue have been humorously described. Humour, infact, makes Chaucer’s characterization distinct. A humorist is one who is quick to perceive the funny side of the things and who has the capacity to laugh and makes other laugh at what is absurd or ridiculous or incongruous. Chaucer is called the first humorist of English literature. No English literary work before him reveals humour in the modern sense. And Chaucer is a greater humorist than Boccaccio. Chaucer’s humour is consistent all pervasive and intense as we find in Shakespeare’s plays. He paints all the characters in “The Prologue” in a humorous manner. The Knight is as gentle as a maid; the Squire is too sentimental in his love to sleep at night; the Friar has relations with the bar-maids instead of the poor; the Parson is too innocent and Clerk is too studious. Chaucer even does not spare himself and says: “My wit is short, ye may well understonde” His humour has refined and sophisticated touches and it does not offend anybody. For example, when he tells us that Prioress is so amiable and pleasant in her manners that she takes paints to imitate the manners of the court we cannot know whether he is praising her or laughing at her affection: And full pleasant and amiable of port; And peyned hire to counterfete cheere Of court, and been es’attich of manere, But his humour is of the finest type. It is pleasant and sympathetic because he is a man of pleasant temperament. He knows that every human being has one type of defect or others. He pinpoints the defect in a light manner with a view to cure them, not for degrading the victim. His attitude is positive. So, when he says that the Friar lisps a little out of affection and when he

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