THE CANTERBURY TALESEzra Winter, Canterbury tales mural (1939), Library of Congress John AdamsBuilding, Washington, D.C.
LANGUAGEWepyng and waylyng,care and oother sorweI knowe ynogh, oneven and a-morwe,Quod the Marchant,and so doon oothermoThat wedded beenWeeping andwailing, care andother sorrowI know enough, in theevening and in themorning,said theMerchant, and sodoes many anotherwho has beenmarried.
FRAGMENTS• Fragment I(A)• Fragment II(B1)• Fragment III(D)• Fragment IV(E)• Fragment V(F)• Fragment VI(C)• Fragment VII(B2)• Fragment VIII(G)• Fragment IX(H)• Fragment X(I)TALES• General Prologue, Knight, Miller, Reeve, Cook• Man of Law• Wife of Bath, Friar, Summoner• Clerk, Merchant• Squire, Franklin• Physician, Pardoner• Shipman, Prioress, Sir Thopas, Melibee,•• Monk, Nuns Priest• Second Nun, Canons Yeoman• Manciple• ParsonTHE ORDER OF THE CANTERBURY TALES
THE STRUCTURE OF THE TALESIt is largely linear, with one story following another, it is alsomuch more than that. In the General Prologue, Chaucerdescribes, not the tales to be told, but the people who willtell them, making it clear that structure will depend on thecharacters rather than a general theme or moral.
The Nun’s Priest’s Tale• Chantacler, the rooster• Pertelote, chanticler’s favorite wife• The fox
The Second Nun’s Tale• St Cecilia• Valeriano• Tiburce• Maximo
The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale• The Yeoman tells a tale of how a canon defrauded apriest by creating the illusion of alchemy using sleightof hand.
The Parson’s TaleThe Parson delivers a lengthy treatise on the Seven Deadly SinsChaucer’s RetractionHe retracts and prays for forgiveness for all of his works dealing with secularand pagan subjects, asking only to be remembered for what he haswritten of saints’ lives and homilies.