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Word Count: 1,359
The Canterbury Tales The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories set within a framing story of a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket The poet joins a band of pilgrims vividly described in the General Prologue who assemble at the Tabard Inn outside London for the journey to Canterbury Ranging in status from a Knight to a humble Plowman they are a microcosm of 14th- century English society The Host proposes a storytelling contest to pass the time each of the 30 or so pilgrims the exact number is unclear is to tell four tales on the round trip Chaucer completed less than a quarter of this plan The work contains 22 verse tales two unfinished and two long prose tales a few are thought to be pieces written earlier by Chaucer The Canterbury Tales composed of more than 18000 lines of poetry is made up of separate blocks of one or more tales with links introducing and joining stories within a block The tales represent nearly every variety of medieval story at its best The special genius of Chaucers work however lies in the dramatic interaction between the tales and the framing story After the Knights courtly and philosophical romance about noble love the Miller interrupts with a deliciously bawdy story of seduction aimed at the Reeve an officer or steward of a manor the Reeve takes revenge with a tale about the seduction of a millers wife and daughter Thus the tales develop the personalities quarrels and diverse opinions of their tellers After the Knights tale the Miller who was so drunk that he could barely sit on his horse began screaming I know a tale that can cap the Knights
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