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The Life Of Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

1192 words - 5 pages

For thousands years, England was the home to many of the world’s most notorious and skilled authors and playwrights. A short list of these celebrated British authors include William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Francis Bacon, John Milton, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and Geoffrey Chaucer. People still read and are influenced by the work of these literary geniuses today. In general, people are also familiar with the lives of these trendsetting writers. However, little is known about the man behind the controversial and renowned Canterbury Tales, one of Great Britain’s most prominent literary masterpieces.
Geoffrey Chaucer had an unusual and exciting childhood which would later be his inspiration for writing The Canterbury Tales. It is believed by most historians that Geoffrey Chaucer was born in his parents’ house in London around the year 1343. He was the son of an affluent mine maker and his family was part of Great Britain’s bourgeois class. When Geoffrey Chaucer was twelve years old, his father was kidnapped by his aunt. His aunt committed the crime with the intention of forcing Geoffrey’s father into marrying his adolescent to his cousin so that she too could acquire some of her brother’s land. Fortunately, she was caught and imprisoned before the ransom was fulfilled. Soon after the incident, Geoffrey Chaucer attended the St. Paul’s Cathedral School where he was first introduced to the arts. During his years at the school, he spent most of his time studying the works of Ovid, Virgil, and Horace. Ovid, Virgil, and Horace were famous Roman poets whose philosophical poems were often centered on love and society. After attending the St. Paul’s Cathedral School, Geoffrey Chaucer became the public servant of Countess Elizabeth of Ulster, the Duke of Clarence’s wife. He was paid a meager amount of money for the job so when the time came, he decided to fight in The Hundred Years’ War in France in 1359. Similar to his father, he too was captured for a ransom. The connections he had made as Countess Elizabeth of Ulster’s public servant proved to be very beneficial for him when King Edward III paid part of the ransom. After being released, he traveled Europe on diplomatic missions as a member of the Royal Service for the next ten years of his life. He became a more prominent member of the English court after marrying Philippa Roet, the daughter of the nobleman Sir Payne Roet, in 1366.
Both Geoffrey Chaucer and his wife were blessed with political success when he was made one of King Edward’s esquires after the queen died in 1369. As an esquire, Chaucer traveled to Italy where he became acquainted with Dante and Petrarch’s poetry. His career received another boost when he was appointed as the Comptroller of Customs and befriended the Duke of Gaunt. On another trip abroad, Chaucer started casually writing poetry. However, his writing career was halted when he became a Justice of the Peace and then subsequently, a Member of...

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