Geoffrey Chaucer was a Fourteenth century English poet who wrote beautiful verses including the famous Canterbury Tales, Troilus And Crisseyde, etc. At a time w
hen the English language and literature had not elevated and refined enough for an English Renaissance, his poems became in itself a new variety and genre and his liquidity of diction and his licenscious dealing with the language gave his poems a delightful charm. People liked it and began to think, speak and write just as he did in his poems. Without knowing or not, he was fathering and standardizing a new language and initiating the English renaissance. He is considered the father of contemporary English language and literature. Before him, it was not English but \’Englisch\’. A father is a father and will remain so, even if not called so by anyone.
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote poetry at a time when English was Englisch, bearing much difference in spelling, pronunciation, diction, imagery. His famous Canterbury Tales, Troilus And Crisseyde, etc, captivated human minds and unknowingly set a new and desirable standard for not only poetry, but for English language and literature also. He was really standardizing the English language and literature. People gradually began to think that English should be written and spoken just as Chaucer did in his poems. He was very bold and unconventional in the use and invention of words. When viewed from the distance of years after, it was clearly seen that he was fathering a new language out of the old Englisch. Chaucer wrote at a time when, like the novel, secular drama had not been born, and yet his works have some dramatic elements which are altogether missing in the poetry before him.
His mode of characterisation in the is, no doubt, static or descriptive, but in the tales proper it is dynamic or dramatic. There the characters reveal themselves, without the intervention of the. author, through what they say and what they do. Even the tales they narrate, in most cases, are in keeping with their respective characters, avocations, temperaments, etc. In this way Chaucer is clearly ahead of his \”model\” Boccaccjo, who in his allots various tales to his ladies and gentlemen indiscriminately, irrespective of their conformity or otherwise to their respective characters. The stories in could without violence be re-distributed-among the characters.
But not in drama, pace Aristotle, character is all-important. In their disputations and discussions and comments upon each other\’s tales and their general behaviour, too, the pilgrims are^made by Chaucer to reveal themselves and to provide finishing touches to the character-portraits already statically (or non-dramatically) set forth in the Prologue. Chaucer is abundantly showing here the essential gift of a dramatist. A critic goes so far as to assert that Chaucer is \”a dramatist in all but the fact\”, and again : \”If the drama had been known in Chaucer\’s time as a branch of living literature, he might have attained as high an excellence in comedy as any English or Continental writer. \”