As far as we know, Heraclitus and Parmenides were contemporaries: Heraclitus was from Asia Minor, and Parmenides was from Southern Italy. We think Heraclitus remained in his hometown of Ephesus all his life. He lived perhaps sometime around 500 BC. According to the popular Western imagination, Heraclitus is often portrayed as a weeping, brooding philosopher. … Continue reading Who Is Heraclitus?
Next, the Host calls forth the Squire and he asks him, if it be his will, to tell a tale about love. In the "General Prologue," we learn that the Squire is the son of the Knight. He is "a lovyere and a lusty bacheler" (80) with curly locks of hair. Chaucer suspects he is … Continue reading On The (Interrupted) Squire’s Tale
"The Clerk's Tale" is one of the most important tales among Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The Clerk speaks to us as the representative from the academy, specifically he is an academic from 'Oxenford' (Oxford). He is the philosopher's voice in Chaucer. We have already heard the numerous charges brought against intellectuals by various tradesmen (like the … Continue reading The Scholar’s Desire for Power: A Reading of The Clerk’s Tale
The term "satire" comes down to us from the Classical Greek word for "satyr drama." The best example of a surviving satyr play from is Euripides's Cyclops, and though we moderns have a limited perspective on these tetralogical comedies, we believe they originated from Dionysian drunken revelries, and that they once concluded a series of … Continue reading Jonathan Swift and the Idea of Satire
In the "General Prologue," Chaucer describes the Summoner. He has a 'fire-red face cherubim's face' that is pimpled and disfigured. He is a lecherous man whose hair is falling out, and the mere sight of him brings fear into the hearts of children. He is a drinker of strong wines, and he is a bit … Continue reading Aristotelian Mimesis: The Conflict Between the Friar and the Summoner
The Wife of Bath is the most famous, albeit the most troubling character in Chaucerian literature. As with other speakers in The Canterbury Tales, we are only given her title at the outset, the "Wife of Bath." Later we learn her name is Alysoun, or she sometimes goes by "Aly" (recall that she shares a … Continue reading The Wife of Bath’s Tale: Autobiography and Arthurian Parody