• Malcolm Andrew
Part of the Palgrave Literary Dictionaries book series


Pilgrim in CT. The portrait of the Yeoman in GP (I.101ff.) follows those of the *Knight and the *Squire; the three are regularly taken to form a group. The word ‘yeoman’ clearly indicates a personal servant (as in the case of the *Canon’s Yeoman) though there has been some doubt as to whose attendant the Yeoman would have been. Whereas the pronoun ‘he’ in the first line of the portrait refers most naturally to the Squire, commentators have generally felt that it would be more appropriate for the Yeoman to be the Knight’s servant. A partial solution to this problem is provided by the hypothesis that the portrait of the Squire was added after those of the Knight and the Yeoman. Opinion has differed as to whether the Yeoman appears more as a forester or a soldier — his garb tending to support the former view and his weapons the latter. He has thus been related both to the management of estates and to the contribution of archers to English successes during the *Hundred Years’ War. It has regularly been noted that the portrait concentrates on the physical particulars of appearance and equipment. While the Yeoman does not tell a tale, some commentators have speculated that Chaucer intended to write one for him, based on the story of Gamelyn: see Cook’s Prologue and Tale, The. Further reading: Andrew (1993); Mann (1973).

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© Malcolm Andrew 2006

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