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Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote. See Important Quotations Explained The narrator opens the General Prologue with a description of the return of spring. He describes the April rains, the burgeoning flowers and leaves, and the chirping birds. Around this time of year, the narrator says, people begin to feel the desire to go on a pilgrimage.
Many devout English pilgrims set off to visit shrines in distant holy lands, but even more choose to travel to Canterbury to visit the relics of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, where they thank the martyr for having helped them when they were in need. The narrator tells us that as he prepared to go on such a pilgrimage, staying at a tavern in Southwark called the Tabard Inn, a great company of twenty-nine travelers entered.
The travelers were a diverse group who, like the narrator, were on their way to Canterbury.
They happily agreed to let him join them. That night, the group slept at the Tabard, and woke up early the next morning to set off on their journey.
Before continuing the tale, the narrator declares his intent to list and describe each of the members of the group. The first lines situate the story in a particular time and place, but the speaker does this in cosmic and cyclical terms, celebrating the vitality and richness of spring.
A pilgrimage is a religious journey undertaken for penance and grace. As pilgrimages went, Canterbury was not a very difficult destination for an English person to reach. It was, therefore, very popular in fourteenth-century England, as the narrator mentions.
Soon after his death, he became the most popular saint in England. The pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales should not be thought of as an entirely solemn occasion, because it also offered the pilgrims an opportunity to abandon work and take a vacation.
He emphasizes that this group, which he encountered by accident, was itself formed quite by chance 25— His comments underscore the fact that he is writing some time after the events of his story, and that he is describing the characters from memory.
He has spoken and met with these people, but he has waited a certain length of time before sitting down and describing them.
His intention to describe each pilgrim as he or she seemed to him is also important, for it emphasizes that his descriptions are not only subject to his memory but are also shaped by his individual perceptions and opinions regarding each of the characters.
He positions himself as a mediator between two groups: He spends considerable time characterizing the group members according to their social positions. The pilgrims represent a diverse cross section of fourteenth-century English society.
The nobility, not represented in the General Prologue, traditionally derives its title and privileges from military duties and service, so it is considered part of the military estate.
In the portraits that we will see in the rest of the General Prologue, the Knight and Squire represent the military estate. The clergy is represented by the Prioress and her nun and three prieststhe Monk, the Friar, and the Parson. The other characters, from the wealthy Franklin to the poor Plowman, are the members of the laity.
These lay characters can be further subdivided into landowners the Franklinprofessionals the Clerk, the Man of Law, the Guildsmen, the Physician, and the Shipmanlaborers the Cook and the Plowmanstewards the Miller, the Manciple, and the Reeveand church officers the Summoner and the Pardoner.A summary of General Prologue: Introduction in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.
Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Canterbury Tales and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Sep 16, · I recently rented "Canterbury Tales" because I started reading the Chaucer book and also because I liked Pasolini´s final film "Salo".
However, I was very much disappointed with the results/10(K). A visit to Canterbury is not complete without experiencing Chaucer's famous tales of medieval misadventures at one of the City's most loved attractions. The Canterbury Tales is the world's weirdest road trip.
It tells the story of a group of pilgrims (fancy word for travelers) on their way to Canterbury, who engage in a tale-telling contest to pass the time. Besides watching the interactions between the characters, we get to read 24 of the tales the pilgrims tell.
Canterbury Tales-A personal perspective on the Medieval Christian Church In researching Geoffrey Chaucers collection of stories named The Canterbury Tales, an interesting illustration of the Medieval Church becomes evident.
I think Chaucer had multiple purposes in writing the Canterbury Tales, some of which we will never know!
He clearly was disenchanted with the Catholic church and uses a lot of satire in his tales.