The Life And Success Of Geoffrey Chaucer

1097 words - 5 pages

Geoffrey Chaucer was a man with an interesting life to say the least. From imprisonment and royal service to being renowned as one of the greatest poets and writers of the 1300s. Chaucer's life had many mysteries to it as well such as what intrigued him to write The Canterbury Tales, one of his most famous works.
Geoffrey Chaucer's year of birth is a bit of a mystery for no one knows for sure which year he was born. What is known is he was born around 1340 – 1345. He was believed to be the child of Agnes, niece of Hamo de Compton, and his father John Chaucer. Records show that around 1357, Chaucer was in service to Elizabeth, countess of Ulster, and wife of Lionel, Duke of Clarence. Her record shows that she paid for Chaucer's clothing and expenses in small sums in April, May, and December.
In 1359 Chaucer went to the war in France. While in France, Chaucer was held captive in the area of Reims. March 1st of 1360, King Edward III contributed £16 to his ransom. Records show that King Edward III paid Chaucer a pension of twenty marks for his past and future services on the 10th of June 1367. This means Chaucer must have been in King Edward's service about a year or two after his capture. Also during this time, Chaucer married his wife, Philippa de Roet, furthering his career in the English court even more.
In 1370 Chaucer went abroad to fufill diplomatic missions in Florence and Genoa up until 1373. While in Genoa he had helped establish an English port. His reward was being appointed Comptroller of Customs, a very sought out position. While abroad he familiarizied himself with the work of the Italian poets, Dante Alighieri and Petrach. Chaucer admired Dante greatly. Sometimes he even cited and quoted Dante. While it is still argued today that Petrach had major influence in Chaucer's works and had even had conversations concerning the topic of writing with Chaucer.
In 1377 and 1388, Chaucer participated in more diplomatic missions. He was busy with objectives of finding a French wife for Richard II and securing military aid in Italy. At this time, Chaucer had little time for his passion, poetry. Although in 1385, he took temporary leave and lived in Kent for 4 years, but still participated in the political system as a Justice of Peace and later on as a Parliament member. His writing was still being left neglected. Philippa passed away during this time in 1387 and Chaucer stopped partaking in her royal affairs causing him to suffer financial hardship. Chaucer was already in major debt.
Many historians and theorists of Geoffrey Chaucer believe that because of his lack of continuing to be in Philippa’s affairs, choosing financial issues instead, and his lack of writing about or toward his wife that his marriage with Philippa was more than likely arranged. Chaucer's works rarely complimented the idealogy of marriage. This could be lack of fondness of his marriage or that he was a man with points he would rather focus on over the...

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