That evening, a group of people arrive at the inn, all of whom are also going to Canterbury to receive the blessings of "the holy blissful martyr," St. Calling themselves "pilgrims" because of their destination, they accept the Narrator into their company. The Narrator describes his newfound traveling companions. The Host at the inn, Harry Bailey, suggests that, to make the trip to Canterbury pass more pleasantly, each member of the party tell two tales on the journey to Canterbury and two more tales on the journey back.
The Clerk The Clerk is a poor scholar who can only afford threadbare clothes because he spends all his spare money on books. There are many scholars through The Canterbury Tales, and though nearly all of them are poor, this does not dampen their spirits.
In medieval society, tradesmen organized into guilds to obtain more power and money, and these workers were rapidly gaining recognition and influence. The Cook makes tasty food, but his disgusting appearance and severe lack of hygiene might not make that food the most appetizing of options.
The Shipman The Shipman is a scoundrel who skims off the top of the wares he transports. However, even though he is a crook, the Shipman has a great deal of experience and is good at his job: The Physician The Physician, like the Clerk, is well-educated, but he practices his trade for love of gold rather than love of knowledge.
He may not know his Bible, but he certainly knows all that there is to know about science and medicine.
The Parson Unlike most of the other religious characters in the Tales, the Parson is a sincere and devout priest, devoted to his parishioners.
He genuinely practices what he preaches, traveling through rain and shine to the farthest corners of his parish. He wears a modest tunic, demonstrating his humble ways, and always pays his tithes in full, showing his devotion to Christ.
The Miller The Miller is a pug-nosed, brawny worker with a red beard and a warty nose. The Manciple The Manciple supplies a school of law with provisions, but he is cleverer than the lawyers he works for.
He, like the Shipman and the Miller, likely steals from his masters, since his accounts always come out ahead and in his favor. The Pardoner The Pardoner, with his mincing, feminine ways and long hair, has been interpreted as potentially homosexual.
He carries a full bag of pardons and fake relics from Rome, which he uses to dupe gullible parishioners into giving him money. Theseus Theseus is the noble king of Athens.
Hippolyta Hippolyta is Queen of the Amazons, a tribe of powerful women. Nevertheless, before the story begins, she has fallen in love with Theseus, and he brings her back to Athens as his bride. Arcite One of the two main knights of the Tale. Bound in chivalric brotherhood to Palamon, Arcite nevertheless falls in love with the same woman, Emelye, while the two are imprisoned in the tower.
Palamon Brave, strong Palamon, sworn to eternal brotherhood with Arcite, his cousin, falls in love with the maiden Emelye while he and Arcite are imprisoned for life in the tower.
She is pious, virginal, and the epitome of an object of courtly love. Venus Palamon prays to Venus, goddess of love, before battle, asking to win the hand of Emelye.
The temple of Venus is decorated not only with heroic love but also with stories showing the sinful and disastrous effects that love can have. Mars Arcite prays to Mars, the god of war, asking for victory in battle.
Diana Emelye prays to Diana before the climactic battle.
Diana is the goddess of chastity as well as of change. Saturn The father of the gods and the ultimate judge, pale, cold Saturn makes sure that everything turns out as Fortune and the gods have decreed.
Symkyn Symkyn the miller, a fat, pug-nosed man, resembles the portrait of the Miller in the General Prologue. Symkyn is a scoundrel who steals grain from his masters.
Aleyn Aleyn, who comes from the north of England, is one of the two scholars studying at Cambridge. John John, who comes from the north of England, is one of the two scholars studying at Cambridge.
She is a lusty young creature who steals grain from her thieving father to give back to the scholars.
She sleeps with Aleyn. The three rioters The three rioters spend their days carousing, drinking, and making mischief. Although they swear brotherhood during their quest to slay Death, as soon as they find the bushels of gold all bets are off and they start plotting against each other, to their eventual demise.
The old man The old man who cannot die is a typical character from a moral fable: The widow and her daughters The widow and her two daughters are the only humans who appear in this Tale: The widow and her daughters act like animals in the climactic scene of the Tale, when the entire barnyard chases the fox.
She is quite bossy and is an example of the kind of authoritative wife that the Wife of Bath champions in her Prologue. Russell the Fox The fox is the wily villain of the story, the murderous threat that Chaunticleer sees in a dream.Yet what is key about the information provided in the General Prologue about these characters, many of whom do appear to be archetypes, is that it is among the few pieces of objective information - that is, information spoken by our narrator that we are given throughout the Tales.
The tales themselves (except for large passages of the prologues. About The Canterbury Tales Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List Other collections of tales existed before Chaucer's, the most famous being Boccaccio's Decameron, in which three young lords and seven young ladies agree to tell tales while they stay in a country villa to avoid the plague that is ravaging the cities.
The Canterbury Tales summary key points: The characters represent various social levels, including a knight, some clergymen, members of the middle class, and a few peasants.
Chaucer is the author of "The Canterbury Tales" and also appears as one of the pilgrims throughout the entire book. He functions as the naïve narrator and the reader’s guide on the way to Canterbury and his ironic comments as the poet reveals the true color of this assorted group.
Courtly love motifs first appear in The Canterbury Tales with the description of the Squire in the General Prologue.
The Squire’s role in society is exactly that of his father the Knight, except for his lower status, but the Squire is very different from his father in that he incorporates the ideals of courtly love into his interpretation of his own role.
An Analysis of the Characters of The Canterbury Tales Essay - An Analysis of the Characters of The Canterbury Tales An interesting aspect of the famous literary work, "The Canterbury Tales," is the contrast of realistic and exaggerated qualities that Chaucer entitles to each of his characters.