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Geoffrey Chaucer Writing Styles in The Canterbury Tales

This Study Guide consists of approximately 266 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Canterbury Tales.
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Style

Heroic Couplets

The poetic meter, or rhythm, used throughout The Canterbury Tales is iambic pentameter. This means that each line is based on pairs of syllables, proceeding from one that would be unstressed in normal speech to one that is stressed. This pattern is called the iamb, and a poetic structure based on it is called iambic. When the English language is spoken, this pattern occurs naturally, so the rhythm of an iambic poem is hardly noticeable when read aloud. Because the lines generally have five iambs each, for a total of ten syllables per line, the rhythm is described as iambic pentameter—"penta" is the Greek word for "five."

Throughout The Canterbury Tales, lines are paired off into rhyming couplets, which means that each pair of lines has similar-sounding words that rhyme at the end. A poem that is written in iambic pentameter and has rhyming couplets is...

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This section contains 484 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Canterbury Tales Study Guide
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The Canterbury Tales from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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