The Canterbury Tales


This is a website about the Canterbury Tales

Here you will find summaries of the tales as well as a biography of Chaucer and other resources such as a dictionary of Middle English, and background information about the historical and social background of the Canterbury Tales.




Canterbury Tale Facts

  • Chaucer born 1340

  • Wrote the Canterbury Tales in

  • Helped Establish Middle English as a legitimate literary language at a time when French and Latin were dominant

  • It is not clear if the Canterbury Tales is a finished work, or if Chaucer meant for it to be longer

  • There is no consensus on the proper order of the Tales and different manuscripts arrange the stories differently

  • The Canterbury Tales may be patterned after Boccaccio's Decameron, which Chaucer probably read while on a diplomatic mission to Italy

  • Written probably at the end of the 14th century

  • The Tales paint an ironic picture of English society and were probably intended to be read at Court.

  • Chaucer is considered the Father of English Literature. He is the first poet to receive the honor or being buried in Westminster Abbey.



The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales is a collection of over 20 stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer. The framing device is that a group of pilgrims, including Chaucer, are traveling from London to Canterbury on a religious pilgrimage. On their way, the travelers hold a friendly story telling competition. The winner will receive a free meal at the Tabard Inn.

The Canterbury Tales are considered a literary classic and one of the finest works written in Middle English. It is difficult for modern readers to understand Middle English, so this website offers a summary of the main tales, and side by side translation as well as a dictionary of Middle English words. The text of the Canterbury Tales presented here is illustrated by numerous medieval woodcuts and illustrations.






Canterbury Tale Summaries

Geoffrey Chaucer
Geoffrey Chaucer
Canterbury Tales - The Wife of Bath's Tale
The Wife of Bath's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Miller's Tale
The Miller's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Shipman's Tale
The Shipman's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Knight's Tale
The Knight's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Summoner's tale
The Summoner's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Pardoner's Tale
The Pardoner's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Prioress's Tale
The Prioress's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Cook's Tale
The Cook's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Monk's Tale
The Monk's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Merchant's Tale
The Merchant's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Nun's Priest's Tale
The Nun's Priest's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Franklin's Tale
The Franklin's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Clerk's Tale
The Clerk's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Man of Law's Tale
The Man of Law's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Second Nun's Tale
The Second Nun's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Doctor of Physic's Tale
The Doctor of Physic's Tale
Canterbury Tales - The Manciple
The Manciple
Canterbury Tales - The Squire's Tale
The Squire's Tale


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Canterbury Tales