Read this article to know about the short summary of Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

The Canterbury Tales: Introduction

While going on a journey to the shrine of Thomas Becket, the pilgrims, who belong to various ranks/classes of the society of fourteenth-century England, decide to tell the tales to each other in order to pass the time of the journey.

At their gathering at the Tabard Inn, the host sets the rules and promises a reward for the winner. It’s decided that every pilgrim would tell two tales on the way to Canterbury and two while coming back.

However, for the reasons unknown, the plan couldn’t be a success as we don’t have the tales which would have been told during the return journey. Also, there were thirty pilgrims on the way to Canterbury but only twenty-four tales exist currently because, perhaps, all the tales couldn’t survive till the time printing press was invented.

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales remains one of the finest literary pieces in the history of the English language. Interestingly, Chaucer is considered to be the first person writing in the English language—a pioneer.

In a tightly and beautifully weaved language and dealing with almost every issue of fourteenth-century England, ranging from adultery, corruption… jealousy to loyalty, love… moral values, Chaucer tells us the tales of  a Knight, his son the Squire, the Knight’s Yeoman, a Prioress, a Second Nun, a Monk, a Friar, a Merchant, a Clerk, a Man of Law, a Franklin, a Weaver, a Dyer, a Carpenter, a Tapestry-Maker, a Haberdasher, a Cook, a Shipman, a Physician, a Parson, a Miller, a Manciple, a Reeve, a Summoner, a Pardoner, the Wife of Bath, and Chaucer himself.

Please read about the Age of Chaucer before going through the summary of Canterbury Tales.

List-wise Summary of The Canterbury Tales:

  1. Prologue to Canterbury Tales
  2. Knight’s Tale
  3. The Squire’s Tale
  4. The Franklin’s Tale
  5. The Miller’s Tale 
  6. The Reeve’s Tale
  7. The Cook’s Tale
  8. The Man of Law’s Tale
  9. The Wife of Bath’s Tale
  10. The Friar’s Tale
  11. The Summoner’s Tale
  12. The Clerk’s Tale
  13. The Merchant’s Tale
  14. The Physician’s Tale
  15. The Pardoner’s Tale
  16. The Shipman’s Tale
  17. The Prioress’ Tale
  18. Chaucer’s Tale to Sir Thopas
  19. Chaucer’s Tale of Melibee
  20. The Monk’s Tale
  21. The Nun’s Priest Tale
  22. The Second Nun’s Tale
  23. The Canon’s Yeoman Tale
  24. The Manciple’s Tale
  25. The Parson’s Tale and Chaucer’s Retraction
  26. Retraction

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