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The Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer *Chaucer himself is depicted in the Canterbury Tales as the narrator; he is initially perceived as gregarious and naïve, and later described as silent. His opinions of each character flagrantly show through in the manner in which he writes each tale.

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The canterbury tales

Geoffrey Chaucer*Chaucer himself is depicted in the Canterbury Tales as the narrator; he is initially perceived as gregarious and naïve, and later described as silent. His opinions of each character flagrantly show through in the manner in which he writes each tale

  • Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343 – 25 October 1400)

  • *Chaucer’s various experiences throughout his life helped to pave the way for the writing of The Canterbury Tale

  • *began writing as a poet in his twenties, his earliest works being translations of other European  poets                                                              

  •  *The Canterbury Tales, arguably his most famous work, was believed to be written as an inspiration from his pilgrimage to Canterbury, as he was able to observe a diverse group of people, including

  • * Only 24 out of 120 stories were told, all composed of various genres of medieval literature

  • * deemed “The Father of English Poetry” as he was recognized as the greatest English poet of his time

  • * His cause of death is not quite known, as his tomb was built over one-hundred years following his death and there is little historical record to affirm any distinct cause

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Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer was included in the social class of the merchants, along with his parents. They consisted of the middle class.

Chaucer was a modest, inquisitive, and gregarious character. He was very intelligent and his gift for writing is evident in his vast variety of


He is depicted as wearing a dark coverchief on his head, which is similar to a Val that nuns wear. He is also shown dressed in a long, black cloak.

He is revealed as having a serious and grave expression along with a fully developed beard. His hair cannot be explained because he is always shown wearing his coverchief.

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  • The Pilgrimage from Southwark to Canterbury

  • 59.4 miles away.

  • It would have taken at least 4 days to travel this distance back for most people, but Chaucer has his pilgrims do it in 1 day.

  • They left Southwark in the morning and arrived in Canterbury as the sun was setting.

  • They rode horses on this pilgrimage.

  • For Medieval men a pilgrimage was a symbolic journey that represented the course of human life, from one's home on earth to one's true home.

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The Tabard Inn

  • The Tabard was an inn established in 1307 by abbot of Hyde, the head of a Benedictine Monastery just outside of England.

  • It was established to provide a hostile for him when he traveled to England and to accommodate all of the pilgrims heading to England.

  • These pilgrims traveled to England to see the Shrine of Thomas Beckett in Canterbury Cathedral.

  • The Tabard was located on the East Side of Borough High street in Southwark, an area on the east- side of London.

Canterbury cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral

  • Location

  • Canterbury Cathedral is located in Canterbury, Kent.

  • Appearance

  • One of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England.

  • Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury

  • ·      After his death, this became a major pilgrimage destination. Thomas Becket had a falling out with King Henry II, and this led to his murder in the Canterbury Cathedral.

Canterbury cathedral1
Canterbury Cathedral

  • Canterbury, Kent

  • Country: United Kingdom of Great Britain

  • Founded in 602AD by St. Augustine

  • One of the oldest and most famous Christian structures

  • It was probably an existing church building from Roman times

  • The cathedral was set on fire in 1011 by marauding Danes

  • In 1067 another fire broke out, destroying what was left of the Saxon cathedral

  • In 1070 Archbishop Lanfranc began to rebuild the cathedral

  • After Lanfranc, Anslem added the towers abutting the eastern transepts and the crypt, largest of its time in England

  • Thomas Becket was archbishop in 1162 to death in 1170

  • On December 29, 1170 Thomas Becket was murdered in the cathedral by 4 knights because he refused to pardon men he had excommunicated

  • Still functions as the cathedral for the archbishop of Canterbury

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What is a pilgrimage?

  • A pilgrimage is a journey of a pilgrim, especially one to a shrine or a sacred place

  • During the Medieval times, people would make extensive journey to visit the resting place of saints or to visit sacred relics

  • Jerusalem and Rome were popular pilgrimage sites during the Medieval period

  • Many people decided to journey in groups as it was safer to travel in numbers

  • These journeys would take months, and numerous times, the pilgrims may not return because it was dangerous to travel to an unknown destination

  • There were several spots along popular pilgrim routes that were hospitable to the travelers

  • At these resting stops, the pilgrims would eat, rest, drink, and tell stories of their journeys and of the sites they been to

  • Because faith was very important to the people of the Medieval times, many travelers believed that visiting the site would absolve them of their sins

The knight
The Knight

  • Distinguishedman

  • Followed chivalry, truth, honor, generousness, and courtesy

  • Honored for his noble graces

  • Successful fighter

  • Aristocrats or military class

  • served with distinction in many campaigns

  • wise, modest and polite

  • very worthy man

  • not gaily dressed

  • wore a fustian tunic stained and dark with smudges where his armor left a mark

  • not vain

  • takes the pilgrimage seriously enough to rush to join straight from battle

  • possessed fine horses

The squire
The Squire


  • Strong and agile

  • 20 years old

  • Curly hair

  • Average height

    Social Class

  • Aristocrat or Military

    Additional Information

  • Son of the Knight

  • Brave

  • Cavalryman

  • Good rider

  • Veteran of combat

  • Devoted to his father

The yeoman
The Yeoman

  • The Yeoman was an archer and worked

    for a knight or squire. He wore a green hood and coat. His head was like a nut and his face was brown.

  • He carried arrows with peacock feathers. He knew woodcraft. Yeoman wore a brace on their arm and bore a shield and sword. The yeoman also held a hunting horn. They were proper foresters.

  • The yeoman was considered a noble, but was the lowest of the noble class. He could be a free man and own a small estate. Yeomen became a class of people that gained a reputation for hard toil.

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The Prioress (The Nun)


· Has a simple, shy smile

· Grey eyes

· Very clean

· Wears a nice cloak

· Has a coral bracelet and a golden brooch

Social Class

· The clergy as a nun

Other Information

· Has very good table manners

· Very kindhearted, charitable, and respectable

· Real name is Madam Eglantyne

· Speaks French

· Anti-Semitic

The monk



Manly Man

In good shape

Bald and has a shiny head and face

Wears very different robes of the usual monks which was a plain habit and hood but wore gray fur on his sleeves of his cope and a gold pin with a love knot at the end of the hood

The gold pin signified that he was not religious because instead of the gold pin it should be a rosary.

Social Class


Abbot meaning father, religious title given to the head of the monastery



Ignores rules and lives and controls his own life very unlike monks of the time

Hunts and rides horses instead of studying, praying, and working which the rules of the monastery forbids

He is believed to have joined the monastery because he wanted be separated from betrayal of people and of women.



Social Class: clergy

Jolly, Festive



Happy and sturdy voice

Good singer and hurdy-gurdy

Sparkly eyes

His name was Hubert.


His job didn’t make him wealthy but he knew how to make a profit

He wasn’t like the friar’s before him


Most Mellow of the Four Orders

Match maker to many girls

Got many girls in trouble

Was able to hear confessions

Forgiving to all people

Made a decent living

Knew taverns and inns best

Easily got money from people

Deceiving, Immoral

Made a profit off of all that he did for people.

Wore a robe

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The Merchant


· Forking beard

· Motley Dress

· Beaver hat

· Buckled boots

· Sat high on his horse

Social Class

· Free, High status non-noble

Info important to lifestyle

· An expert at currency exchange

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The Oxford Cleric“The Student”

A. appearance:

  • thin, had a hollow look and a sober stare

  • worn out, thin clothes

  • B. social class:

    1. middle class

    2. peasant-born

  • C. personality:

    • knowledgeable young student who would do anything to gain more knowledge

    • preferred books over money and nice things

    • quiet and reserved

    • never spoke more words than he needed to

    • formal and respectful

  • Sergeant at the law
    Sergeant at the Law

    • Very wise

    • Talked little

    • Tricked people into thinking

      he was wiser and busier the

      he really was

    • A very good lawyer, could

      make a fool-proof contract or

      give a great defense

    • Knew the law by heart

    • Took large fees and lived well,

      middle class

    • Commissioned by the King of


    Sergeant at the law1
    Sergeant at the Law

    • He is discreet

    • He is a able attorney

    • Wary and wise

    • Makes people think he is bruiser and wiser that he really is

    • A very busy man

    • Wore a homely parti-colored coat with a pin-stripe silken belt

    • Important in his social class

    The franklin
    The Franklin

    • Franklin means “free man”

    • White-bearded and red-faced

    • - Like Santa Claus

    • Wealthy gentleman farmer but was not born noble

    • Middle Class

    • Loves food

    • - House seemed to snow meat and drink

    • Enjoys good living

    • Well-liked by other pilgrims

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    The Franklin

    • A medieval wealthy land owner.

    • His beard was white as a daisy-petal.

    • Sanguine, high colored, and benign.

    • He was a free man; He didn’t serve a lord but was not a noble.

    • He lived in pleasure believing that happiness is the most important goal in life.

    • He is a connoisseur of food and wine, so much so that his table remains laid and ready for food all day.

    The weaver

    Wise, fit to be noble

    Trim and fresh, silver knives

    had money

    Clothe making profession

    All artisans.

    They are dressed in the livery, or uniform, of their guild.

    The narrator compliments their shiny dress and mentions that each was fit to be a city official.

    Demonstrate the pride associated with being a guild member

    successful people

    Guilds are professional organizations for craftsmen

    The characters are proud of their wealth and display it with ornate objects

    The wives enjoyed the status of the husbands

    Gave the women social recognition

    Demonstrate the pride associated with being a guild member

    belonged to a guild (associations of tradesmen, somewhat powerful in this time period)

    dressed luxuriously

    their wives are demanding and controlling, were social climbing

    The Weaver

    The dyer
    The Dyer

    • Dyers used many components from to make inks.

    • · They used colorful dyes and stains

    • · They could dye anything from furniture, drapes clothing or fabrics, to decorate materials and artwork

    • · Dying was not always for enjoyment

    • · Dying was a trade that often served the nobles

    • · Dying was not only tedious and needed a meticulous mind frame but It was also dangerous.

    • · They used plants that were dangerous and often poisonous if even handled or inhaled and especially ingested

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    A haberdasher

    is a person who sells small articles for sewing, such as buttons, ribbons and zippers. In English, haberdasher is another term for a men's outfitter. A haberdasher would sell small accessories, like linens and silks. Another meaning of "haberdasher" refers to a "dealer in, or maker of, hats and caps.”

    Medieval craftsmen, like haberdashers, belonged to guilds. Each guild had a hall or house to meet in. The members worked together to insure the quality of their work, train apprentices, set prices, care for the sick members of their guilds and the widows and children of deceased members. The men of the guild were wealthy, and their sons were automatically born into the guild.

    The cook
    The Cook

    Name was Roger


    Master of his trade

    Good at cooking

    Cut on his shin

    Best dish was Creamed Chicken Pie

    Trade Class

    Rude and vulgar man

    Engages in violent and arguable behavior

    The skipper
    The Skipper


    • He wore a woolen gown that reached his knee

    • He had a dagger on a lanyard that hung from his neck under his arm and down

    • Tanned by the summer heat

    • Was an excellent fellow

      Social Class

    • Trade class

    • Info important to lifestyle

    • Came from far west, he came from Dartmouth

    • The nicer rules of conscience he ignored

    • He was hardy, prudent in undertaking

    The doctor

    Social Class

    He was part of the Middle Class


    He wore blood red garments with bluish gray in them and they were lined with taffeta (which was used for formal wear).


    He made most of his money from when plagues struck his country and he tended to rip people off. Gold and money was very important to him. He was somewhat greedy.

    He was very intelligent in the field of medicine. He knew the cure for any malady that you had. He also was educated in astrology; he could read you your stars and tell you your luck. He knew his medical information by heart but did not know the Bible at all. He was not a very holy man.

    As for food, he only ate what was nutritious and never ate food for pleasure

    The Doctor

    The doctor1
    The Doctor

    • One of the best of his profession

    • Could heal almost any illness

    • Was in very good shape, thin

    • Has an obsession with gold and finical gain

    • Believes in study of stars.

    The wife of bath
    The Wife of Bath

    • A deaf but intelligent woman

    • · A very skilled tailor, a person who creates clothes

    • · She wore very heavy kerchiefs

    • · Her shoes were soft and new

    • · Bold, beautiful face but a little reddish

    • · She had five husbands

    • · She was alone during her childhood

    • · Skilled in traveling

    • · She had spaces in her teeth

    • · She had large hips that was covered by a mantle

    • · Likes to laugh and talk to others

    • · She knew how to flirt very well

    • · She was the type that couldn’t keep her man down. She was too outgoing.

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    The Wife of Bath

    · A bold, handsome woman, deaf in one

    ear and gap toothed

    · As a seamstress, she is dressed rather

    extravagantly in scarlet colored clothes

    · She is a worldly woman, having seen

    many different places

    · After living with five different husbands,

    she is experienced and well versed in

    the games of love.

    · Through her experiences, she has

    gained intellect, independence, and the

    ability to provide for herself

    The parson

    • Wore a tabard, loose jacket.

    • Poor in his social class, rich in holiness and work.

    • Stands out as what the parish priest should be.

    • Lived a perfect life taught others to follow.

    • Ideal Christian Priest.

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    The Parson

    • Social Class- the Clergy

    • Truly knew the gospel and

      preached it

    • Disliked extorting the tithe

    • Gave to the poor out of his own


    • Nothing stopped him from


    • A description of physical


    • is not given because a parson is a

    • stereotype of the perfect priest.

    The miller
    The Miller

    • The Miller was a broad, well-muscled man who could easily wrestle a ram.

    • The Miller’s job was to grind wheat into flour using large rocks which constituted his large musculature. The Miller was so adept at his trade that he could tell the quality of grain simply by feeling it.

    • The Miller’s social standing was with the lot of the Peasants. However, because of his wealth, not as much as a noble’s, he was held with higher regard among the peasants.



    Elderly Gentleman


    Wears a long cloak and hat

    Social class


    Steward for a law school in London

    authorized to buy provisions (food or other necessities)

    Relevant Information

    Never rash


    Wiser than thirty lawyers he feeds


    Cheated well-educated lawyers

    by putting aside a tidy little sum for himself

    Came from Inner Temple

    All carters follow his example in buying

    Used to watch the market carefully

    Go in first do he did well in shopping


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    Reeve was a slender man

    He had a beard shaven to the best of his ability; it was as clean-shaven as he could get it to be

    His hair looked as if it were cut by clippers; cut around the ears

    long legs and was very lean

    short temper

    could be angered very easily

    belonged to the middle class.

    Good writer


    An administrative officer (high rank)

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    The Summoner


    The Summoner had a fire-red face, with boils all over.

    He had pimples all over his face, and nothing could get rid of them.

    He wore garland around his head

    His breath was wretched because he loved to eat garlic and onions.

    Social Class:

    He was in the lower class.

    His job was to the send those who were arrested for sins to court.


    He was a drunken man, and slurred too often, only in Latin.

    He rarely followed any of the law.

    He was a scary man and partook in too many sexual activities.

    He believes he is more knowledgeable than most people.



    Wore a tabard(loose jacket) smock

    He would not have been dressed up in nice clothes because of his occupation and he might have smelled from carrying manure


    He worked in fields

    He dug corn and carried manure

    Social Class

    The Plowman’s social class is considered to be among the virtuous poor or lower class

    He was extremely poor but represented all the Christian values and virtues

    Relevant information to the lifestyle of

    the pilgrim

    He was a good worker who was religious

    He lived in peace and charity and treated his neighbor with much respect

    Plowman helped the poor and was always charitable

    He was the Parson’s brother

    He always paid his tithes and they were on time and in full


    The canterbury tales



    Long, blonde hair

    Wears a cap with a holy relic on it

    Big, bulging eyes

    Smooth facial skin

    Social Class

    Clergy, Freeman, contested status

    Lifestyle Information

    A pardoner is one who dispenses papal pardons.

    He was gentle and patient because of working with the pope.

    The host harry barley
    The Host: Harry Barley


    • Bright eyes

    • Wide body

    • Manly

    • Very handsome

      Social Class

    • Trader class


    • Joyful man

    • Kind-hearted

    • Generous in giving food and drink

    • Invented the idea of telling the stories of the pilgrimage

    • Offers dinner to the pilgrim who tells the best story

    • Maintains peace

    • Guides the trip