Chaucer's Personal Life
FORMAT of The Canterbury Tales
IMPACT of The Canterbury Tales
PLOT & SETTING of The Canterbury Tales
NEW Vocabulary

Where was Chaucer born? (city and country)

London, England


What 3 languages influenced Middle English?

Anglo-Saxon, French & Latin


Why does it matter that Chaucer used Middle English for his poetry instead of French or Latin?

He lent credibility and popularized the use of the "language of the everyday people" in literature.

To where are the pilgrims traveling and why?
To Canterbury, to see the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket. (15)

What is vernacular?

The "everyday language" or "the language of the common people."


What is Chaucer’s “nickname” in the world of literature?

The Father of English Poetry  or The Father of English Literature


What types of couplets is The Canterbury Tales written in?

Heroic Couplets

A heroic couplet is a traditional form for English poetry, commonly used in epic and narrative poetry, and consisting of a rhyming pair of lines in iambic pentameter.

How did The Canterbury Tales represent and relate to "everyman"?
It describes pilgrims from all walks of life, all social classes, and therefore gave readers of all classes stories about people who were just like them. (101)
What happened to St. Thomas a Becket to make him a martyr?
He was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by King Henry II's knights over a conflict regarding religious differences. (15)
What is a frame tale?
A larger story within which there are other, smaller stories. (14)

Where is Chaucer buried?

In Westminster Abbey--in The Poet's Corner


 A tale in which a larger story contains is referred to a/an ___________________?

A frame narrative


Which is a more elegant language used by the nobility, Anglo-Saxon or French?


How many pilgrims are traveling to Canterbury for their pilgrimage?
29 pilgrims + the host = 30 travelers (14)

What does the Prologue reveal about society in Chaucer's time?

It reveals the social structure


Chaucer was buried in the Abbey not for his poetry but because he had been Clerk of Works at the Palace of Westminster. 

True or False



What is the overarching story that Chaucer uses for The Canterbury Tales?

30 different pilgrims are traveling to Canterbury and have to tell stories along the way. 


What is a pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales? ( Define in the context of this story.)

A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place as an act of religious devotion


What is the setting of The Prologue in The Canterbury Tales?

Tabard Inn in Southwark, England

A bar or tavern in England


What is another word for Middle Ages?

Medieval Ages


Who is the narrator in The Canterbury Tales?


What was Chaucer’s original plan for the tales before he died? How many did he complete?
He wanted to write 120 different tales (30 pilgrims X 4 tales each), but died after only writing 22. (14)

What are the different social classes in The Canterbury Tales?

  • Nobility/Ruling Class - Knight and Squire.
  • Clergy - Monk, Friar, Prioress, Parson, Summoner, Pardoner.
  • Middle Class – Merchant, Doctor, Student, Wife of Bath.
  • Peasants – Miller, Plowman, Skipper


Why was the feudal system falling apart? Name the factor that damaged it and the outcome that feudal lords had to deal with.

The feudal system was falling apart because the ruling classes were losing power. The Black Death/Plague had killed a huge percentage of the workers that supported the system and a new middle class emerged to fill those roles, but demand more power.


What is connotation as it relates to language?

the associated or secondary meaning of a word or expression in addition to its explicit or primary meaning: A possible connotation of “home” is “a place of warmth, comfort, and affection.”

Click to zoom