The Shipman Tale Edit
Background Information Edit
In The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer the character of the Shipman is a interesting fellow. The Shipman's job would be defined as seaman or sailor, who would work on a ship most likely for a trade company. The Shipman was a well-traveled man who had sailed across the seas on the many trade operations that he would have completed. This character had low social standing because the majority of his time would have spent at sea. This also caused people to view him in lower light. According to the pay scale for a seaman he would have ranked as lower middle-class. Since the majority of Shipman's life would be on the ship his daily jobs could be: cleaning, s raising the sails, loading/unloading the ship’s cargo, and repairing the ship to keep it in working order. The stereotype that most would peg this character as was a scary brainless man who is uncivilized and not social in "land" society. Chaucer does kind of paint this picture because he talks about how he lacks any kind of riding skills and also that he carries a knife around his neck. The modern era employment of this would be a sailor. They both worked on a boat and travel across the globe in order to expand their trade regions.
Examination of Text Edit
The Shipman is a rough bearded man that loves his wine, has knife around his neck, and appears to be a sailor out of water. Chaucer also sees as a man with a good amount of skills and weather traveler that has seen many things in his life, this suggest that possibly the Shipman is a older man with many years on the water.
The lines 393-396 best depict the character's physical appearance.
"He sadly rode a hackney, in a gown, Of thick rough cloth falling to the knee. A dagger hanging on a cord had he About his neck, and under arm, and down. The summer's heat had burned his visage brown;"
The lines 394, 397-404 best depict of the character's personality.
"A dagger hanging on a cord had he About his neck, and under arm, and down. The summer's heat had burned his visage brown; And certainly he was a good fellow. Full many a draught of wine he'd drawn, I trow, Of Bordeaux vintage, while the trader slept. Nice conscience was a thing he never kept. If that he fought and got the upper hand, By water he sent them home to every land."
There are some very specific words used by Chaucer that help to better understand the personality that Shipman was trying to show. The phrase he uses is "Full many a draught of wine he'd drawn" demonstrates the seaman strong liking for alcohol, then his choice of attire is also shown "A dagger hanging on a cord had he, About his neck, and under arm." Finally Chaucer also tells of his lack of "conscience" or code that the Shipman possess in that he will not take any prisoners so there is no option of surrendering to him.
Analysis of Passage Edit
Chaucer opinion of the Shipman is tough sailor who has traveled across many seas and has seen many things in his lifetime. He also thoroughly enjoys consuming alcohol and is shrewd man. Chaucer also talks about how he does not take any prisoners after a battle. According to Chaucer this Shipman would the last person you would want to get in a fight with."But as for craft, to reckon well his tides, His currents and the dangerous watersides," This shows the respect for what the Shipman does and the amount of years it took to learn this.
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