Canterbury Tales, Prologue - Geoffrey Chaucer, review

Genre: framed narrative

Subject matter: human sins, searching something (hidden truths of human characters) - pilgrimage

Theme: exploration of the human characters, probably human sins through tales, which will follow

Setting: Southwark, Tabard Inn Hostelry, time April

Point of view: 1st person - narrator

Style: diction – neutral

Tone: Irony and satire

Characters: 29 pilgrims – story-tellers divided according to their rank, dress, the number and also the purpose in the pilgrimage. There are aristocrats (Knight), ecclesiastical (Nun, monk, friar..), tradesman and craftsmen (merchant, dyer, carpenter etc.), university educated (Oxford cleric, a doctor), medieval characters a franklin, a reeve…)

Content:

  1. In April Pilgrims set on Pilgrimage to seek holy blessed martyr, they meet in Southwark in Tabard inn Hostelry and they were 29 of different social background, all of them intending to go to Canterbury.  (And at a knight then will I first begin – end of the first part)
  2. All of the characters are introduced. We are given information about their appearance, clothes, how they ride their horse and what is their fellowship in the company. These 29 pilgrims are people of various professions. There are introduced aristocracy (Knight), ecclesiastical (Nun, monk, friar), tradesman and craftsman (merchant, dyer, carpenter) professional university educated (an Oxford cleric, a doctor), medieval characters (a reeve, a summoner, a pardoner). Each pilgrim is typical for some sin that is or will later be examined in the tales. All the pilgrims reflect seven deadly sins: avarice, pride, sloth, lechery, envy, gluttony, and wrath. (A Knight there was – beginning 2nd part, Now I have told you briefly … end of 2nd part)
  3. In the end (Why this company was assembled– beginning of the 3rd part) they decide to repeat a story after someone but their host who is surprised by their lucky group suggest on their way to Canterbury a game and he will be a judge. Each one from the company must tell two stories, one on the way to Canterbury one on the way back, then he will decide which story is the best and the best story teller will be paid the dinner by all. There is one condition the pilgrim who rebels to his judgement shall pay for all that is spent that way.

Quotations:

Summoner

He was as hot and lecherous as a sparrow – sin lechery

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