Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Chaucer's poetic style -hyperbole: P8

Another oral characteristic in Chaucer's tales and in particular, "The Merchant's Tale", is hyperbole – that is, exaggeration in description, effects, numbers. It adds emphasis and/or heightens the comedy, danger, passionate, dramatic, etc.

There is more hyperbole in Chaucer’s style than is usually consciously recognised.

Hyperbole is a fundamental human characteristic which gives ordinary speech much of its emotional and imaginative impact. “There were thousands of them!” (meaning an unexpected number.) and “I’m frozen”, hyperbole and a metaphor for being cold.
Chaucer stylistically uses hyperbole to bring discipline, point and heightening.

For the patient Griselda Chaucer uses hyperbolical feelings and actions – through her extreme patience and the cruelty of her husband is extreme, etc.

The patient Griselda from “The Clerk’s Tale”

Audiences were not always expected to give their full sympathy to characters whose actions were hyperbolic.

See Page 2 for instructions on activities.

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I teach Film, Media and English Lit.