Canterbury Tales Study Guide

Topics: EducationStudent

Type:

Sample donated:

Last updated: April 28, 2019

Narrator
Geoffrey Chaucer, the author who would “speak plainly and with no concealings and give account of all their words and dealings”, although he is never named

Knight
father of the squire; lord of the Yeoman; fights in crusades; loyal to his king and God and follows rules of chivalry (minor nobility)

Squire
young man of 20, son of the knight; writes songs/poems; a soldier yet a romantic (minor nobility)

Prioress
superior of a monastery of nuns; attended by the Nun, the Monk, the Friar, and the Priest (clergy)

Yeoman
“attendant”; a forester; servant of the Knight; outdoorsman; skilled in archery and woodcraft (peasant class)

Monk
manages the estates of the Prioress and the monastery; outrider and hunter (clergy)

Friar
a religious who has taken a vow of poverty and is licensed to beg; arranges marriages; somewhat of a lady’s man; “Hubert”; helpful to others but with ulterior motives (clergy)

Nun
chaplain to the Prioress; larger woman who liked to appear mannerly (clergy)

Priest
one of three with the Prioress but not specifically described (clergy)

Merchant
wealthy and pompous; secretly in debt (middle class)

Oxford Cleric
a long-term student with an addiction to books; a religious scholar (clergy)

Sergeant at the Law
a shrewd and wealthy lawyer (middle class)

Franklin
wealthy landowner; lover of food (middle class, possibly minor nobility)

Haberdasher
hat and clothing maker; guildsman “of one impressive guild-fraternity” (middle class)

Carpenter
works with wood; guildsman “of one impressive guild-fraternity” (middle class)

Weaver
makes fabric; guildsman “of one impressive guild-fraternity” (middle class)

Dyer
dyes fabric and leather; guildsman “of one impressive guild-fraternity” (middle class)

Carpet/Tapestry Maker
makes large, intricate woven pictures which are decorative and expensive; guildsman “of one impressive guild-fraternity” (middle class)

Cook
works for the five guildsmen (peasant class)

Skipper/Shipman
a sailor/pirate, commander of a merchant ship (middle class)

Doctor/Physician
well-educated; a lover of gold; prescribes medicine (middle class)

Worthy Woman/Wife of Bath
has survived five husbands; prosperous, gregarious, experienced; well-traveled; a bit arrogant (middle class)

Parson
clerk and priest; poor because he is good; a true shepherding pastor; taught what he knew (clergy)

Plowman
brother of the Parish Priest; an honest, decent farmer (peasant)

Miller
owns a mill; grinds grain into meal and flour; foul; hot-tempered; dishonest; a buffoon (middle class)

Manciple
a buyer for 30 lawyers who are administrators of London courts; illiterate but “street smart” (middle class)

Reeve
manager of a nobleman’s estate; prosperous; feared by those beneath him (middle class)

Summoner
an agent of the Church courts who summons sinners to answer charges before the court; hands out fines; drunken scoundrel; had “dirt” on many (clergy)

Pardoner
traded on the gullibility of the populace; sold relics and indulgences–“pardons from the punishment due to sin”; rat-tails for hair (clergy)

Host
owner of the Tabard Inn where all the pilgrims meet; self-appointed leader/judge of pilgrims’ tales; tour guide/leader for the pilgrims (middle class)

Pilgrimage
in medieval Christianity, long annual trips to holy places to express religious devotion

Canterbury
a town 55 miles southeast of London; major destination of English pilgrims

Archbishop Thomas a Becket
murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170

Middle English
original language of The Canterbury Tales

Henry II
“misunderstood” by his knights who carried out murder; made first pilgrimage to Canterbury as atonement

Choose your subject

x

Hi!
I'm Jessica!

Don't know how to start your paper? Worry no more! Get professional writing assistance from me.

Click here