Canterbury Tales Study Guide

Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is an outstanding piece of literature that consists of fascinating stories about Pilgrims’ adventures. The book hides a lot of secrets behind its plot and famous prologue.

Do you want to explore them? Take a look at our Canterbury Tales study guide! You will discover the book’s key ideas, themes, characters, and symbols.

Canterbury Tales Key Facts

Full Name The Canterbury Tales (or Tales of Canterbury in the Middle English version).
Author Geoffrey Chaucer
Genre Frame narrative/ poetry/ satire/ anthology/ fabliaux
Date of Publishing 1400
Setting (Time) Late 14th century
Setting (Place) England (the Tabard Inn; the road to Canterbury).

Canterbury Tales Articles

The Canterbury Tales: Summary & Analysis

The Canterbury Tales is a unique piece of literature written in Middle English by the famous writer Geoffrey Chaucer. It is a collection of 24 separate stories united in a single book. Below, you’ll see Canterbury Tales’ summary and analysis.

The Canterbury Tales: Characters

The diversity of characters in The Canterbury Tales plays a crucial role in the book’s entire concept. Are you searching for The Canterbury Tales characters’ analysis? Explore our article and find the answers to all of your questions.

The Canterbury Tales: Themes

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is an outstanding piece of English literature. It impresses readers with a wide range of themes that play a crucial role in understanding the book’s entire concept. Are you looking for the analysis of The Canterbury Tales themes?

The Canterbury Tales: Symbols

Do you know what helps to investigate the piece of literature deeper? What reveals the hidden context and highlights the author’s key ideas? These are the symbols! And The Canterbury Tales include a lot of them.

The Canterbury Tales: Essay Topics & Samples

Are you anxious because of the upcoming Canterbury Tales essay? Don’t be nervous—you will succeed with our help. In this article, you will find catchy and effective essay topics, essential tips, and useful examples.

Historical Context of Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales is a well-known work by Geoffrey Chaucer, a medieval author. The book is a collection of fabliaux – short satirical stories that portray everyday life of the middle and lower classes.

There is too little information about Chaucer’s childhood and adolescence. He was born in the early 1340s in London. Throughout his lifespan, he witnessed various historical events and then reflected them in his writings. The Kings of England (Richard III, then Henry IV) appreciated Chaucer’s talent.

In 1349, England faced a dark page in history – the Black Death (or bubonic plague). As a result, the population of 14th century England declined significantly, and the living conditions were too poor (especially for peasants). Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales about Plowman and the Yeoman, for example, clearly demonstrate the hardships that ordinary workers faced in the Middle Ages’ post-plague times.

Besides, Chaucer describes tensions in the English social sphere. After the Black Death and the Hundred Years War, a merchant oligarchy gained increased leverage and aimed to control aristocracy and artisans. As a result of social tensions, corruption started its rapid development, and social inequality became more severe. All of these issues are vividly reflected by Geoffrey Chaucer in Canterbury Tales.

The book is written in the Middle English language. At Chaucer’s times, English was rarely used since Latin was widely spread in the Church, and French was the language of the court. However, The Canterbury Tales were written in the language of Chaucer, which was understandable to ordinary people. Thus, the book quickly gained popularity. Overall, the contribution of Chaucer to the English language is a valuable input to the development of medieval literature.

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