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Canterbury Pilgrims by Karen Knudson

Summary and translation of the profiles of Chaucer's pilgrims from the General Prologue of the Canterbury Tales. Notice the wide variety of people represented and also the ironic aspect in the description of each pilgrim.
by

Karen Knudson

on 19 September 2014

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Transcript of Canterbury Pilgrims by Karen Knudson

The Canterbury Pilgrims
Setting
Spring ("Aprill")
England
from Southwark
the Taberd inn
to Canterbury
Knight
Squire
Yeoman
Prioress
Monk
Friar
Merchant
Sergeant of Law
Franklin
Cook
Knight
loves hunting
"manly man"
has lots of good horses and dogs
rides a brown palfrey
doesn't follow St. Benedict's rule for monks
because it's too strict or St. Augustine's
edict to work with his hands
shiny bald head & face, rolling eyes
wears fur-lined clothes & a gold love-knot pin
Monk
Chaucer's Pilgrims
Squire
the Knight's son

has also fought some battles


very talented
doesn't sleep much at night
Yeoman
Prioress: Madame Eglantine
servant to the Squire
clothing: green coat
sun-tanned from being outside
an archer
a good woodsman
takes good care of his equipment
wears a St. Christopher talisman
sings through her nose
speaks Stratford-version French
dainty manners at dinner
copies the manners of the court
spoils her dogs
grey eyes, fair forehead
wears an elegant cloak,
prayer beads & a brooch that says, "Love conquers all."
Friar Huberd
a Limiter ("licensed to beg in a specific district")
very social; pleasing voice; good at his job
he lisps to please the ladies
licensed to hear confession
gives easy penance
good singer & reciter of ballads
knows where all the taverns were
definitely does not hang out with lepers
wears a double-worsted cloaks
wants to keep the English Channel
open for trading with Flanders
makes a profit from exchanging money
no one knows he's in debt
wears a forked beard, a Flemish hat,
and nice boots
Merchant
Clerk
would rather have books than nice clothes
studied logic
prays for his benefactors
he and his horse are very skinny
wears a threadbare coat
Sergeant of the Law
hangs out with other lawyers
seems wise, seems busier than he is
likes to buy real estate
he knows the statutes & has good
handwriting
wears a humble coat
Franklin
(franklin: a landowner not of noble birth)
loves food & drink
always has the good stuff on hand
has the power to judge local legal cases
red face and blonde beard
wears a dagger and a silk purse
Haberdasshere, Carpenter, Webbe, Dyere, Tapicer
haberdasher: clothing designer & tailor
web: weaver
dyer: cloth dyer
tapicer: tapestry-maker
wear clothes indicating their occupations
have new gear, good tools (knives with silver)
have property and income
their wives are happy because people call them, "Madame"
& they go first in village processions
The Cook
specialties: chicken with marrow-bones, spices, London ale, stews, pies, mousse
"wears" an ulcer on his head
Shipman
rides a nag
wears a heavy wool, short gown
tan from the sun
steals wine from the merchants
shipping it
drowns prisoners
has good sailing skills
tough--been through lots of storms
ship is called "Madeline"
Doctor of Physik
knows astrology to help plan patients' treatment
knows the causes of diseases, understands bodily humors,
knows which drugs to prescribe
studies medical books & authorities
doesn't know the Bible
wears red and blue clothes lined with silk
kept the money he earned during the plague
because gold can help treat people, he loves it in
particular
Wife of Bath
very good at making clothes
always the first to carry her offering forward
in church
wears high quality scarves, red hose, new shoes,
a veil, a large hat, a riding skirt, and spurs
has a red face, gap-toothed (indicating her
lecherousness--look it up)
has had 5 husbands (and other "company")
has been on many international pilgrimages
very social
knows different cures for love
Parson
educated preacher, devout teacher
good, diligent, patient, merciful, humble, discreet
gives away what he has instead of threatening
excommunication in order to receive tithes
visits parishioners in rain & thunder
treats nobles & peasanta the same
carries a staff, like a shepherd
preaches that priests should be examples of purity
doesn't try to get a better position
practices what he preaches
Plowman
hard laborer: threshes, digs,
carries loads of dung
good, peaceful, charitable
loves God with his whole heart
loves his neighbor as himself, works
for his neighbor
pays his tithe
Miller
would be a popular WWE wrestler: wins wrestling
prizes, heaves doors off hinges or breaks them with his head
has a wide, red beard, a wart on his nose with red hair
growing from it
wears a sword & buckler, white coat, and blue hood
tells dirty stories, cheats his customers
plays the bagpipes
Manciple
(manciple: "business agent of a community of
lawyers in London")
smart buyer of food for his employers
smarter than his 30 smart bosses, 12 of whom
were stewards who managed large estates
Reeve
(reeve: "superintendent of a large farming estate")
long-legged, slender, hot-tempered
close-shaved beard, close-cut hair
takes good care of the grain & stock animals under his supervision
knows all the tricks of the farm laborers, who are
deathly afraid of him
he's a carpenter
has a secret stash of supplies
knows how to manipulate his lord
rides a grey horse named Scot
wears a long, blue overcoat, carries a rusty sword
Summoner
(summoner: "works for the church to bring in people the archdeacon suspects of offenses")
red-faced, pimples, lumpy cheeks, narrow eyes, scabby black eyebrows, scabby beard
no treatment could help his skin
lecherous & promiscuous
likes garlic, onions, leeks, red wine
speaks his 2 or 3 Latin words (loudly) when he's drunk
he lets a man have a prostitute if the man gives him wine
teaches: don't be afraid of excommunication if you have money
all the girls tell him their secrets
wears a giant wreath on his head & carries a cake as his shield
Pardoner
long, thin, blonde hair; glaring eyes; goat voice; beardless
starting a fashion trend: not wearing a hood
carries "fresh" pardons from Rome
carries relics: Mary's veil, piece of the sail from Peter's boat,
metal cross, pigs bones in a glass
gets money by false flattery & tricks
good reader, singer, and preacher
"Now I have told you soothly in a clause
Th'estaat, th'array, the nombre, and eek the cause
Why that assembled was this compaignye
In Southwerk at this gentil hostelrye
That highte the Tabard..."
AT THE TABARD
Shipman
Doctor of Physic
Wife
Parson
Plowman
Miller
Manciple
Reeve
Summoner
Pardoner
TUNIC IS RUST-STAINED FROM BATTLE
A GOOD SOLDIER HAS A GOOD HORSE
A TRUE KNIGHT--HE HAS GOOD MANNERS
Negotiated with the Muslims
lady's man with curly hair
likes to sing
a good rider
Full transcript