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История и география стран первого иностранного языка (ЧелГУ, Зайченко С.С.) вопросы к экзамену.docx
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  1. Who was the first Plantagenet King? Why was Thomas Becket murdered? How did the Christian world react to Becket’s martyrdom?

Henry II (1154-1189, 12th century) was the first Plantagenet king to rule in England. His reign was of territorial expansion. His marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine brought vast new lands to the south. Henry II himself travelled to Ireland to force the Irish chiefs and Norman lords to accept his lordship, and made Dublin, the old Viking town, the capital of his new colony.

Henry began reorganizing the judicial system. He established procedures of criminal justice, established courts and prisons for people awaiting trial.

Henry II also strengthened royal administration but suffered from quarrels with his own family. In the last years of his life Henry II’s wife and sons plotted against him. Eleanor was imprisoned but his sons Henry, Richard and John joined forces in France and waged war against their father. When two of his sons were killed in the war, the king with broken heart had to accept a humiliating peace. A month later, Henry II died.

His reign is also marked by the first conflict with the Church and he is largely remembered as the king responsible for the death of St. Thomas Becket.

Thomas Becket was the son of a London merchant, later the king’s chancellor. In 1164, Henry declared his ancestral rights over the church. Now archbishop of Canterbury, Becket refused to act against the interests of the Church, considering the Church to be his first loyalty, not the King. An attempted reconciliation failed and Becket punished priests who had acted together with Henry. On hearing this Henry reportedly exclaimed, 'Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?' Four knights took his words literally and murdered Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Three years later Becket was canonized, and a year after that Henry had monks flog him in the street as a mark of his repentance.

Canterbury Cathedral has become a place of pilgrimage where Christians go to visit the tomb of St. Thomas Becket as well as other important sites.

  1. What role did Geoffrey Chaucer play for the development of the English language? What languages were books written in before Chaucer in England?

Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 – 1400, 14th century) is known as the Father of English literatureand the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages.

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London. He was the son of a prosperous wine merchant, later elected to Parliament. He made several journeys abroad on diplomatic and commercial missions.

He is widely remembered as the author of The Canterbury Tales, which ranks as one of the greatest epic works of world literature. The book, which was left unfinished, depicts a pilgrimage by some 30 people, who are going on a spring day in April to the shrine of the martyr, St. Thomas Becket. On the way they amuse themselves by telling stories. His other works were: Cressida, The Book of the Duchess, The Parliament of Birds.

Geoffrey Chaucer was the first who gave examples of true poetry, where taste, sense of proportion, elegance of the verse dominate. Chaucer brought literary language to a high degree of elegance, using only those words that came into general use.Chaucer also made a crucial contribution to English literature in using English at a time when much court poetry was still written in Anglo-Norman or Latin.

He was buried in Westminster Abbey, in Poet's Corner. A monument was erected to him in 1555.

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