The Canterbury Tales Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales Study Guide

Prepare to explore the culture, life, and people of Middle Ages in these 24 stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer. The author was close to the King and wrote the text while being at the height of his career in the justice of the state. His experiences are reflected in the stories.

If you think that this is a boring book to be used for bedtime reading – you couldn’t be more wrong. So prepare yourself to be amazed and vowed! Each story is about human passions, morals, and vices. They all glorify and describe a man at his best and his worst.

What makes the “Canterbury Tales” so popular is the fact that the writer doesn't stick to one style or genre. He is constantly experimenting and the reader plays an active part in this experiment. Imagine reading a tragic myth about brothers who fell in love with the same girl… Then all of the sudden the story goes into a church servant kissing a student’s derriere in the dark thinking he is kissing the lips of his beloved lady. No wonder he’s surprised why his loved one has such a hairy mouth!

All the stories are different and unique: some of them are sad others are funny and mischievous. But all of them are meaningful and have a moral background to them. The language of the text can be a bit tricky since it’s written in Middle English. But it only adds to the style and interpretation of the stories.

Geoffrey Chaucer is a legend, not just a writer. He can be truly called the father of British poetry. In his words, the writer managed to impersonate the history of the country, making it vivid and interesting. Each of the pilgrims that actually tell the story represents a separate class. Through their words, we discover the negatives perceptions towards other classes of British society and Chaucer’s skepticism towards some of them, particularly the church servants.

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