Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer: Father of English Poetry

Do you know who is the literary icon of Middle Ages? Geoffrey Chaucer, a great author and poet, named by John Dart as the “Father of English Literature or English poetry”. He has made significant contributions to the development of English literature through his innovative and unique writing style, influential works, and his role in popularizing the English language as a literary medium.

He has also contributed as a civil servant, diplomat, and member of parliament for his country. Chaucer’s impact on English literature can be observed in several areas, including his use of vernacular Middle English, his poetic techniques, and his use of diverse characters and social themes.

What do you know about Geoffrey Chaucer that when he was born and die?

Chaucer is the greatest English poet of Middle English period also known as Father of English Poetry and Father of English Literature who was born in c.1343 in England and died in 1400. He is the first poet who is buried in Poets Corner of Westminster Abbey where more than 100 literary personalities are buried.

Life and literary works of Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer is considered as the prominent writer of Middle English period, who has major contribution in English literature. He wrote poetry, novel and drama with unique style. He was a true realist of that age. His depiction of characters is natural and simple. 

He has changed English language by introducing new poetic techniques like iambic pentameter and Rhyme into his poetry. In the realm of drama, novel, poetry, humor and realism he has been regarded as the pioneer for the development of these genres. His most remarkable contribution is the development of English Poetry.

By choosing to write in middle English rather than in French and Latin, Chaucer made a very pivotal role in populating English as a literary language. This decision had made literature to accessible to wider audience and played a crucial role for linguistic diversity in Medieval England.


Geoffrey Chaucer, a prominent and genius poet and author of medieval period in England. He was considered as the pioneer on novel, drama, poetry and other literary genres in English literature and called as the “Father of English Poetry “He has contributed a lot in the development of English literature and popularized English language worldwide. He rejected the popular languages of courts and church and laid the foundation of new linguistic style in literary canon. Through his poetry he marked the beginning of drama by presenting characters with dialogue. He was the one who is known for the development of modern novel in medieval time. His portrayal of humor, characterization and plot construction had introduced a new genre of novel. His major contribution is to write poetry in real way. He had used realism, influencing by real people and expanded poetry by connecting it with real world and real characters. indeed, he had filled true colors in English literature through his remarkable work and enhance literature.

Books of Chaucer

Following is the list of Chaucer’s literary works.

  • The Canterbury Tales (1387) Medieval stories of 29 pilgrims of St Thomas.
  • The Book of the Duchess (1369-1370) a dream poem.
  • The House of Fame (1370) an unfinished dream vision poem.
  • The Legend of the Good Women (1385-1386) A romantic dream vision poem.
  • Troilus and Criseyde (1385) a tragedy of two lovers.
  • A Treatise on the Astrolabe
  • Parliament of Fowls (1377-1382) a dream vision poem.
  • Anelida and Arcite
  • Roman de la Rose (Romance of the Rose) a dream allegory.

In his poetry Chaucer used various poetic techniques which has strong impact on the works of English literature. Rhyme royal and iambic pentameter which got popularity in Elizabethan Age and later in English poetry these were initiated and exercised by Chaucer. He skillfully used different poetic devices which played vital role in the development of English verses. For the future poets he set an example and paved the way, all of it is a big contribution to English literature.

Important poems of Geoffrey Chaucer

  • Truth
  • A ballad of gentleness
  • Against women unconstant
  • Since I from love
  • The complaint unto pity
  • To Rosemounde
  •  The canterbury tales
  • Anelida and Arcite

Biography of Geoffrey Chaucer

The name of Chaucer is taken from Chaussier; a French word. The meaning of Chaussier; is the maker of footwear. We came to know from the history that the ancestors of Chaucer were show makers. His father’s name was John Chaucer and mother name was Agnes de Copton, who were prosperous leather dealers and wine merchants. Chaucer was born in (c.1343) and died in October 25, 1400. He got married in (c.1366) to an aristocratic lady name Philipa de Roet of Flanders.

In the age of Chaucer novel was not popular but we can observe different important elements like plot construction, humor, realism, skillful narration and many other techniques in the work of Chaucer. But these elements and basic techniques were used by the writers of different eras by getting insight from the work of Chaucer. Because of these traits he is known as the father of English literature.

Chaucer’s art of characterization

Chaucer’s art of characterization is superb one. In his works Chaucer portrayed different characters having different social backgrounds and presented them with deeper understanding and human experience. For example, in his work The Canterbury tales he addressed diverse characters and explored various themes like love, religion, social class mortality and human nature. All these elements helped the novel in becoming a popular literary form.

Chaucer’s literary techniques

Geoffrey Chaucer laid the foundation of drama by his poetry because he used dialogues and different suitable settings in his poetry. In this way through these elements which used in poetry writers of the later ages got the idea and wrote the dramas.

In this way Chaucer’s impact on English literature extended from poetry to novel drama and prose. For example, his most popular work ” The Canterbury Tales “, he had portrayed characters with dialogue with each other that is a fundamental element of drama.

His works played important role in in the versatility of English language and made it a popular literary medium. Chaucer’s rich contribution and tradition followed by the writers of English literature even after his death.

Characteristics of the Age of Chaucer

The complex period from 5th century to the end of the 15th century in Europe is known as Middle Ages or Medieval Period. Following are the important characteristics of it.

  1. Entire society was under the influence of feudalism.
  2. Another major trait was Manorialism.
  3. During this period Catholic Church was central authority.
  4. Chivalry was dominant code of conduct in that period.
  5. There was little social mobility in that particular period.
  6. Black death and Plague had significant impact on the population of Middle Age.
  7. There was fragmented and decentralized political authority at that time.
  8. Technological advancements were present in the form of Gothic cathedrals and military technologies.

Important happenings of the age of Chaucer

  • In that age there was fall of Roman Empire.
  • Coronation of the king of Franks named Charlemagne.
  • In (1066) Battle of Hastings took place.
  • Religious Wars the Crusades was also significant happening of that period.
  • Important incident of Middle Ages was signing of Magna Carta or charter of rights which was signed in 1215.
  • In that period there was 25 million to 50 million people died from 1347 to 1351 by the Black death.
  • There was 100-year War between Kingdom of England and kingdom of France from1337 to 1453 in Medieval period.
  • Peasant’s revolt was also a marked happening of it.


In conclusion Geoffrey Chaucer is a supreme writer of the Middle Age which is also known as Age of Chaucer. He used vernacular English and made his literary works innovative by the richness of linguistics. His style of storytelling is superb and appreciative. He had mastery in using meter, rhyme and other narrative techniques so he is rightly said as the father of English poetry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Chaucer was a prominent writer of the 14th century who was not only a poet but also a philosopher and diplomat. His famous work of literature is The Canterbury Tales.

Chaucer is considered as a Father of English literature because he played an important role in making the English well popular and standardized.

He lived in 14th century in England. This period is known as a Middle Ages or High Middle Ages. He was born in c.1343 and died in 1400 during medieval period.

Chaucer wrote in middle English style by using literary techniques like humor realism and satire. He particularly explores the themes of love, friendship, religion and about the condition of human beings.

Chaucer moved away from the dominancy of Latin and French by using vernacular English. He worked and made English; a literary language by employing different literary techniques.

It is well famous and significant because in it Chaucer tells us the stories of different characters of different social backgrounds of that particular time in a realistic way with unique art of characterization. He explained various themes of medieval society by these characters.

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