The Dramatic Adaptation of the Female Characters in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales; and an original script entitled "Canterbury Capers"

Publication Year



Literature, Chaucer, theatre, performance, poetry, adaptation


Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Poetry | Theatre and Performance Studies


Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is far more than the mere poetic account of a medieval pilgrimage from the Tabard Inn in Southwark, England, to the shrine of St. Tomas a Becket in the picturesque town of Canterbury. If it were, it is doubtful that this single fourteenth century work would have captured the attention of literary and theatrical scholars for almost six hundred years. Within The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer has painted a rainbow of human existence. His pilgrims embody the whole of human nature, for each one is a unique combination of wisdom, reverence, wit, foolishness, humility, selfishness, merriment, and love. It can be safely assumed that there is something about The Canterbury Tales which sets it apart from other surviving pieces of medieval literature, that there is some ethereal quality which separates it from the more banal material of the period and triggers those who read Chaucer's stories to applaud and criticize, defend and condemn, and love and laugh at the thirty merry characters Chaucer has created. It is the purpose of this thesis first to discover what those elements are that breathe three-dimensional life into otherwise paper characters and transform a piece of English literature into a literary masterpiece; secondly, it is to examine the dramatic adaptability of the real and fictional feminine characters in the medieval poet's greatest work; and thirdly, it is to defend the inclusion of specific female characters and their tales in an actual original dramatic presentation of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Before one can tackle this three-fold task, however, one needs to establish the presence of those techniques which tend to produce dramatic effects, to define the term "dramatic adaptability," and discover what it is that makes something "dramatic."

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

Department 2 Awarding Honors Status

Theatre Arts

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