In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer overall discusses facets of the Clerk, such as his being quiet, intelligent, and penniless. In line 289 of the anthology, Chaucer writes, “As lene was his hors as is a rake...” Chaucer’s observing of the thinness of the horse reveals that the Clerk does not spend a lot of money on his animal. The Clerk does not put as much attention into his horse as he may in other things, such as studying. Chaucer reveals in lines 295 to 298 how the Clerk would rather spend money on his books than on luxuries, in this case a luxury is the health of his horse. A typical onlooker would not pay attention to the size of a person’s horse, more or less what the size of a horse indicates about its owner. Another detail of the Clerk carefully observed by Chaucer is in lines 306 to 307 when he writes, “Nought oo word spak he more than was neede, and that was said in forme and reverence...” Chaucer realizes that the Clerk prefers not to speak when he can help it, but when he does speak it is important and is said politely. Not a word the Clerk says is wasted on something petty. This suggests the Clerk feels he has better uses for his time than socializing. Ch...
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...w to charm just about any man. She had been with so many men that nothing is new to her. This leads one to believe she is very knowledgable and cunning, not just a woman in need of a man’s fortune. It takes an astute observer, like Chaucer, to understand this.
Geoffrey Chaucer is a careful and accurate observer. Throughout The Canterbury Tales he makes many insightful observations which require a great understanding of people. Some of the characters in his anthology are the Clerk, the Sergeant of the Lawe, and the Wife of Bath. His observations are not only of the peoples’ behaviors but also of their treatment of their animals and of their peers. All of these factors together lead to the conclusion that Chaucer paid close attention to people and noted minuscule details in their appearance and behavior that would normally not catch the notice of the human eye.
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