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Canterbury Display

 


Summary

On an April day, a group of 29 pilgrims set out on a pilgrimage from London to Canterbury to pay their respects to the tomb of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. The group is described in detail, with characters from all classes, upper and lower, represented. Religious characters, such as a monk and apodoner, travel alongside a sailor, miller, carpenter, and a knight, among others. When the group stops for the night, the host of the pilgrimage proposes that they all tell stories to each other along the way. The pilgrims agree to tell four stories each, two on the way to Canterbury, and two on the way back. The person who tells the best story, as determined by the host, will have his supper paid for by the rest of the group. The tale-telling begins with the knight and proceeds as the pilgrims near Canterbury, each person telling a story that reflects their social position, and some telling stories which are intended to make fun of others in the group. No winner is chosen by the host in the end, and only a few of the pilgrims have told their tales by the time the story ends because Chaucer died before he could finish it. He originally intended to write 124 tales but died having only completed 22. Two more tales were started, but never finished. Chaucer ends the work with a retraction apologizing for anything in the stories which may have been inappropriate.

Source by Wikipedia and Sparknotes

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