That evening, a group of people arrive at the inn, all of whom are also going to Canterbury to receive the blessings of "the holy blissful martyr," St. Calling themselves "pilgrims" because of their destination, they accept the Narrator into their company.
Chaucer was recognized even in his own time as the foremost of English poets. All four of the major minor poems are structured by the devices of the dramatized first-person narrator and the dream vision.
In the earliest of these poems, Book of the Duchess, the evidently lovesick and therefore by the conventions of courtly love insomniac narrator reads the classical myth of Ceyx and Alcyone to help him sleep. After finishing the tale, he does in fact fall asleep and has a dream in which he follows a group of hunters on a chase.
He is eventually led by a small dog into a clearing in the woods, where he comes upon a grieving knight dressed all in black.
The poet then wakes and resolves to write the story of his experience, presumably the very poem that the reader has just read.
Parlement of Foules follows Book of the Duchess closely in structure if not in time. As in the earlier poem, the narrator, having lamented his own inaptitude for love, reads a book this time one on dreams and falls asleep.
The issue is then subjected to a lively debate among the general assembly of birds, which eventually deteriorates into bickering and name-calling. The shouting of the birds at this decision wakes the dreamer, who returns to his books, still hoping to learn from them something about love.
Critics have been unable to agree about the interpretation of the poem. It has been read variously as a serious debate about the conventions of courtly love, as a satire mocking those conventions, as an allegory either about love and marriage in general or, more specifically, about the suit of Richard II for the hand of Marie of France in or the hand of Anne of Bohemia inand as a political and social satire with the birds representing different social classes.
Such diversity of critical opinion represents the norm, rather than the exception, in studies of Chaucer, and there has been even less agreement about interpretation of his two remaining major minor poems, House of Fame and The Legend of Good Women, at least in part because neither appears to have ever been completed.
The poem does succeed, however, as an often brilliantly comic literary experiment. The Legend of Good Women presents a prologue, which exists in two versions, in which the god of love demands that the narrator write a series of tales about good women to atone for his many tales about unfaithful women.
The device of a prologue and dramatic frame enclosing a series of stories, however, may well have helped him conceive the structure of The Canterbury Tales.
The Canterbury Tales First published: Poetry A motley group of travelers on a pilgrimage agree to take turns telling stories to one another along the way.
The Canterbury Tales begins with the General Prologue, which opens with a lyrical evocation of springtime in England, the time for folk to go on pilgrimages to holy shrines to thank the saints for their good fortune of the past year. It then proceeds to a series of portraits of a particular group of pilgrims assembled at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, near London, where they are preparing to leave on their pilgrimage to Canterbury.
The ostensibly random assemblage of pilgrims actually provides a fairly complete spectrum of the middle classes of fourteenth century England, omitting the higher nobility and the poorer peasants but representing a substantial number of the social gradations between the Knight and the Plowman.
These characters are not merely representative abstractions, however, but are provided with vividly individual traits to the degree that they become distinct characters for the reader.
One of the most interesting of the characters is the unnamed first-person narrator, who meets the group at the inn on his way to Canterbury, decides to join their party, and describes them for the reader.
The technique of the unreliable narrator leaves all direct storytelling and commentary to speakers whose point of view is suspect to various degrees and calls for the reader to infer the implicit truth from the information provided.
If Chaucer did not originate this method of narration, he certainly developed it to a greater extent than any other writer before him. The proprietor of the Tabard Inn, Harry Bailly, is so struck by the conviviality of the group that he decides to join them on the condition that they agree to participate in a storytelling contest, with himself as leader and judge of the contest.
The travelers agree and draw lots for the telling of the first tale. The lot falls to the Knight, who begins the sequence of tales. No pilgrim actually tells more than one tale with the exception of Chaucer the Pilgrim, discussed belowand at one time it was thought that Chaucer must have originally planned some tales four each for thirty pilgrims.
More recently, critics have argued that the scheme for tales is proposed by Harry Bailly, not Chaucer, and that The Canterbury Tales as a whole may be fairly close to its final form.
While the work is clearly not finished in a strict traditional sense the pilgrims never arrive at Canterbury or return, and the winner of the contest is never revealedit does seem to have a coherence of effect that is just as satisfying aesthetically as a more rigid closure would have been.
The Knight tells one of the longest and most formal tales, a chivalric romance with philosophical overtones set in ancient Thebes, treating of courtly love and ceremonial combat among the nobility.
The tale is one of the finest examples of the fabliau, a short comic tale, usually obscene, depicting illicit love and practical jokes among lower-and middle-class characters.An Analysis of Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Tale In reading Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," I found that of the Wife of Bath, including her prologue, to be the most thought-provoking.
The pilgrim who narrates this tale, Alison, is a gap-toothed, partially deaf seamstress and . The Wife of Bath's Tale tells a story from a distant time, when King Arthur ruled the nation and when elves used to run around impregnating women.
However, the Wife immediately digresses: now friars have taken the place of elves - they are now the copulating, evil spirits. Jankyn (The Wife of Bath's Prologue) The Wife's fifth husband, who caused her trouble and had to be tamed into submission.
Old Thomas (The Summoner's Tale) An old, sick man who has been tricked often by the friar into giving large gifts to him.
The Wife of Bath's Tale in the Ellesmere manuscript of The Canterbury Tales, c. – The Wife of Bath's Tale (Middle English: the Tale of the Wyf of Bathe) is among the best-known of Geoffrey Chaucer 's Canterbury Tales.
The Wife of Bath. BACK; NEXT ; Character Analysis. The Wife of Bath is larger than life. With broad hips, a big butt, and a hat as big as a boat, she takes up a lot of space in . The story is the portrayal of a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”, “The Pardoner’s Chaucer's Use of Irony in The Canterbury Tales In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer compiles a mixture of stories on a pilgrimage into a figurative depiction of the medieval.