The Yeoman

Research questions:
What specific occupation does your character practice?
  • Yeoman were often small land owners or indentured servants to a king or a lord.
  • Yeoman fought in battles for their overlords and, they were known for their use of bows and thier efficiency in defeating armored foes such as knights.
  • Land owning Yeoman usually owned around 100 acres or more.
What does the need for this occupation tell us about the time period?
  • Yeoman served as indentured servants which tells us that feudalism was still prevalent but, they were starting to replace the knights and own their own land so their presence also show that the foundation of poor serfs was starting to crumble and therefore feudalism was weakened as well.
  • Yeoman were trained with the long bow and sometimes the sword. they were trained so they could protect their nobility.
What was his or her social standing?
  • The Yeoman were usually free men that farmed their own land.
  • Like the knight, the yeoman was considered to be a lawful person in society.
  • Yeoman were sometimes a subject under the king or a noble household.
  • these yeoman were often called the yeoman of the guard or the kings yeoman.
What might your character’s day to day life be like?
  • Today we have the Yeoman Warders who were established in 1485 and are still active today.
  • The Yeoman Warders today are have more of a ceremonial purpose but, it is still a significant merit if you are nominated to be a Yeoman Warder.
  • Yeoman warders must be senior veterans of military service and must have served at least 22 years. When they are elected they live in the fortress in the Tower of London and were traditionally supposed to protect the palace.
  • While they are Yeoman Warders they pay council tax and live in the fortress but, they are also required to own a different house so that when they retire they have a place to live.
  • The Yeoman Warders are also responsible for feeding and the care taking of the ravens in the Tower of London.

What details about this character does Chaucer not include?
  • In the Canterbury Tales Chaucer does not really talk about what the yeoman does or how much money he has. Chaucer really only talks about how well equipped the yeoman is.
What modern day occupation might correspond to your medieval character and why?
  • The job of the yeoman in the middle ages would be similar to the job of a guard or a soldier today.
  • The yeoman protected their lords and sometimes even the king and they have been known to stop assassins from killing these people so they could even be compared to the secret service bodyguards to the president.

Part 2
Examining the language of a specific text can be very complicated. For the purpose of this activity, we will be looking for word choices that give us clues about the author’s tone and attitude about his characters. We will also examine how specific words have evolved from medieval times to today.

Examination of text:
Paraphrase each line of the prologue describing your character into modern language. You may use slang and your own “voice.”
There was a Yeoman that rode beside him,
He would have no other servant ride with him.
This Yeoman wore a green hood and coat,
And he had arrows with bright green peacock feathers
That he kept neatly sheathed at his belt.
He carried every thing that a Yeoman would carry,
His arrows never drooped down
And he carried a powerful bow in his hand
His head looked like a nut because of his tan face.
He had an exceptional knowledge of the woods.
He wore a brace on his arm to protect it
From his bowstring, his shield, and his sword
On his one side he had hung
An elegant dirk that was razor sharp.
He wore shinning silver medal
Of st. Christopher on his chest
He also wore a green baldrick
From which hung a hunting horn.
He was a proper woodsman I guess.

Which lines in the prologue best describe your character’s physical appearance?
  • Lines 105- 120 best describe the yeoman's appearance
Which lines describe his/her personality?
  • Line 104: No other servant; so he chose to ride
  • Line 117: A medal of St. Christopher he wore
  • Line 121: He was a proper forester I guess
Which specific words add to your understanding of the character’s personality?
  • Line 104 states that his master would have no other servant at his side, and this tells us that the Yeoman is most likely does his job well
  • Line 117 states that the Yeoman wears a medal of St. Christopher, which tells us that the Yeoman is an experienced traveler.
  • Line 121 tells us that the Yeoman is an experienced woodsman.

Part 3

Once you have researched the background of your character and examined the text in which your character is developed, you can analyze the language better.

Analysis of the passage
(Be sure to answer in complete sentences and include these responses in your wiki page. Don’t limit yourself, however; include any additional information that would help a reader understand the text better.)
What is Chaucer’s opinion toward this character?
  • Chaucer does not really mention many opinions about the Yeoman but he does still seem to have a positive outlook on this character because he never says anything negative either.
What specific lines or words tell you this?
  • Lines 103- 104: There was a Yeoman with him at his side, No other servant; so he chose to ride.
What word choices require an understanding of vocabulary from the time period?
  • Baldrick- belt slung over the shoulder and chest to hold a sword
  • St. Christopher- patron saint of travelers

Do you see any satire? If so, what is Chaucer trying to reveal or expose about the time period?
  • When Chaucer was describing the Yeoman he didn't really use any ironic or comedic elements. Chaucer admires the Yeoman and thus does not use satire to criticize him he only describes the Yeoman's appearance and he says that he is a trusted servant.
What do you think Chaucer's purpose of including this character was?
  • The Yeoman could have been included to contrast with the other less desirable characters. The inclusion of the Yeoman also adds a little bit more variety to the group of characters in the story.