A Level English: Imagery- Literature’s Archaeology

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Writing is powerful. So too, are pictures and images. They influence you, and keep influencing you- notice how you see images everywhere now, in adverts, on the internet, even on albums and in shops. But what happens when you combine the two?

Simply, an immensely effective way to convey messages. 

And this is exactly what writers do,and have done, for centuries, using images of objects in their writing to symbolise and convey complex ideas and emotions. Sometimes, the message is obvious, whilst at other times, it is sly and mysterious, hidden from view. The Easter Eggs of literature, they are just waiting to be found.

Even hundreds of years ago, writers were employing the clever technique of imagery, and Chaucer was one of these writers. So today, we look at imagery in the Wife of Bath.

Hint: There is a lot of it.



Chaucer’s work is brimming with disguised messages, many of which have yet to be revealed. It is, I believe, a quality of his work that makes us truly appreciate the beautiful intricacy and richness of what he wrote. Even today, there is much ambiguity in his work that still puzzles linguists and readers alike, but I feel it is this mystery, this abundance, that really makes The Canterbury Tales, and all his other masterpieces so special- magic that lives on forever.


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