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The Canterbury Tales consists of a number of short stories in Middle English, written at the end of the 14th century. The stories are based on a story-telling contest among pilgrims who were travelling from Southwark to Saint Thomas Becket's shrine, located at Canterbury Cathedral. The main characters of this novel include the Knight, the Friar, the Miller, the Prioress, the Wife of Bath, and Chaucer himself, among several others.
The group of pilgrims gather at Tabard Inn, and the Host lays down the rules for the storytelling competition. He states that an individual should tell two stories on their way to the shrine and two while returning, and the best story would be selected on the basis of how funny, and meaningful it is by the Host. To decide who tells their story first, they decided to draw lots, which the Knight wins. The Knight's story was about two knights, and the battle between them to marry Emelye, Queen Hippolyta's sister. After engaging in a heavy battle, one of them named Palamon survives and marries Emelye. The pilgrims were pleased at hearing the Knight's story, and the drunken Miller insists on telling a story next. Although most of the pilgrims thoroughly enjoyed his tale, Oswald the Reeve was not pleased as he thought that the Miller was hitting out at carpenters.
After the Miller, the Reeve decides to tell the pilgrims a story about a dishonest Miller. Following that, the readers are presented with stories from the Cook, the Wife of Bath, the Friar, the Summoner, the Merchant, the Squire, the Physician, the Franklin, the Prioress, the Shipman, the Pardoner, the Monk, the Nun Priest, the Parson, the Canon's Yeoman, the Manciple, and Chaucer himself. The book reveals who finally won the storytelling competition.
About Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer was a renowned author and poet. Apart from this book, Chaucer has written The Legend Of Good Women, A Treatise On The Astrolabe, The Book Of The Duchess, and The House Of Fame.
Chaucer was born in the year 1343, in London, England. In 1366, he married Philippa de Roet, who was the lady-in-waiting to Philippa of Hainault. It is presumed that Chaucer studied Law in the Inner Temple. Following that, he became a part of the Royal court of Edward III, holding the post of a yeoman, esquire or varlet de chambre on 20th June, 1367. He also had an active career in civil services, serving as a diplomat, courtier, and bureaucrat. Chaucer has also been called the Father of English Literature, and is regarded the Greatest English Poet of the Middle Ages. He passed away on the 25th of October, 1400, and was the first poet to be buried in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey.