Chaucer and Boccaccio – English Literature Essay (100 Level Course)
Although apparently influenced by Boccaccio, the tales and the Prologue show how deeply Chaucer differs from the Italian writer. In Boccaccio, for in¬stance, the storytellers are young gentlemen and ladies all belonging to the same social class and hardly distinct from each other. Chaucer, on the other hand, chooses highly
individualized pilgrims from widely differing classes. Boc¬caccio was not analytical in his mode of writing and focused his attention pri¬marily on manners. Chaucer was more precise and attempted the psychologi¬cal study of single characters within a very detailed description of the middle class of his time.
But arguably Chaucer’s greatest stroke of genius, (absent in Boccaccio) was to make himself a member of the group, and pretend to go on the pilgrimage. By becoming a character in his own narrative, he became an even more credible eyewitness.