Date of Award
Master of Arts
The literary interest in astrology which had been gradually increasing during the fourteenth century in England, culminated in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower. It is not surprising that these two poets have used astrology very extensively in writing stories for their medieval audiences since the average man in the Middles Ages believed that life depended upon the influences of the seven planets in their positions in the zodiac. It is the purpose of this thesis to present a comparison of the uses of the astrological material in the works of Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower. In this comparison it will be necessary to divide this thesis into six parts in which passages from their works will be presented as evidence of the ways in which they have used astrology in writing for their medieval audience. It will be necessary to refer to some passages more than once. In the first part a comparison will be made of the personal beliefs of Chaucer and Gower concerning astrology. In the second part a comparison will be made of the ways in which these two poets have used astrological influences as motivating forces in their stories. In the third part a comparison will be made of the ways in which Chaucer and Gower have used astrological material in describing their characters and explaining their actions. It is the purpose of the fourth part to compare the powers and influences of the various planets as they are presented by Chaucer and Gower. In the fifth part a comparison will be made of the distinction in theory and practice between astrology and astronomy as they are presented in the works of Chaucer and Gower. In the sixth part, an effort will be made to determine whether or not Chaucer and Gower confused the seven planets with the ancient deities of the same name.
Wyatt, George Rufus Jr., "A Comparison of the Uses of Astrology in the Works of John Gower and Geoffrey Chaucer" (1952). Master's Theses. 1273.