Celestial Coalescence Essay

2633 words - 11 pages

Fourteenth century England drew witness to many disruptions in time. The 100 Years War, Peasants Revolt, and Black Death are among the many tumultuous events that provide the context for some of the greatest literary masterpieces ever composed. Geoffrey Chaucer and the Pearl Poet are amid the most venerated poets on record. Is it purely chance, or did this era cultivate finely tuned writing ability through its refined culture? Just as we will never know the name of the Pearl Poet, we can only infer the social and educational mores of the fourteenth century through the caliber of writers it produced. The era uniformly affects the poem content of Chaucer and the Pearl Poet, but the values can be argued by one simple, differing factor. While Chaucer seemed to write to the popularity of his work, the Pearl Poet chose to not inscribe his name on his manuscripts. As Geoffrey Chaucer indefinitely marks his pages in history, the Pearl Poet, mysteriously, saves his literary breath for after he's literally taken his last. With no name and little evidence of its origination, the producer of the poems, Pearl, Purity, Patience, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight will most likely remain anonymous, or commonly known as the "Pearl Poet," for the remainder of history. Whether his work was an offering to God, or whether he chose to leave the poems nameless because of the ill repute of English-written manuscripts, the Pearl Poet's work still ranks him with Chaucer and other literary geniuses. Akin to they're repute, their literary practices are very much alike. Chaucer and the Pearl Poet share in the same literary practices through their incorporation of the dream narrative, satire of nobility, Boethius, and the Golden Section.

Chaucer and the Pearl Poet both chose to incorporate dream-narratives into their collection of poems. Chaucer included this type of narrative in four of his works, Book of the Duchess, Parliament of Fowls, House of Fame, and Troilus and Criseyde, and the Pearl Poet does so in the poem, Pearl. This comparison is probably the most obvious similarity of the two writers because they both incorporate the dream-narrative in the medieval archetypal manner: beginning with a puzzled or trapped narrator and through a dream (quest) finds consolation and freedom. In Pearl, the narrator, a jeweler, has lost his pearl unto the earth. The emphasis of puzzlement and being trapped is highlighted in the second line of the poem, "To clanly clos in golde so clere" and in lines nine through twelve,

Allas! I leste hyr in on erbere;

Þurз gresse to grounde hit fro me yot. 10

I dewyne, fordolked of luf-daungere

Of þat pryuy perle withouten spot.

As the jeweler is perplexed on the loss of his pearl, Chaucer's narrator is perplexed with

insomnia in House of Fame and in Book of the Duchess with love sickness. Examples include, "I wol make invocacioun, / With special devocioun, / Unto the god of slepe...

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