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Which Innovation Is Attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer?

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Geoffrey Chaucer is the inventor of metrical innovation. It influenced English poetry and became a standard poetic meter. The metrical foot involves the use of the five-stress line, or iambic pentameter, arranged into rhyming couplets.

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Geoffrey Chaucer was born in 1342 in London. He became one of the greatest English poets long before William Shakespeare. The poet discovered various topics in his writings:

  • love
  • human existence
  • connection to God and religion
  • moral code.

In his book, Chaucer introduced different faces of mankind, from poor peasants to noble knights. He viewed the lives of aristocrats and politicians as sources of literary inspiration. The experience of working as a diplomat helped him to become a well-known author. Several of his profound and comic works include The Canterbury Tales and The Parlement of Foules.

At the times of Latin and French-dominated literature, Chaucer wrote in his native language. He was called the ‘Father of English literature’ for encouraging the literary use of Middle English. The poet is also famous for the invention of metrical innovation, called iambic pentameter. The term ‘iambic’ indicates the use of a stressed syllable after an unstressed one. A pentameter is a line with five metrical feet. The distinctive feature of Chaucer’s literary device is that all vowels are pronounced, including the silent ‘e.’ He first used the metrical foot in his poem The Legend of Good Women. It helped him to create the rhythm for the characters’ speech and form the rhyme in the dialogues. Overall, Chaucer’s invention of the iambic pentameter helped to shape English poetry. Also, it restored the popularity of the English language in literature.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Which Innovation Is Attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer'. 23 November.

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