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In The Canterbury Tales, where does history end and legend begin?

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Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales tell about pilgrimages. The different characters that tell stories in the book are the fiction of the author. However, thanks to them, readers can learn more about the customs of the late 14th century.

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The Canterbury Tales consists of stories written mainly in verse but also prose. They are united in the framework of a storytelling contest between pilgrims. They are on their way to Canterbury to worship the relics of Thomas Becket. The path to his grave was indeed popular for pilgrimage and attracted many people. Moreover, in England at that time, stories were the main entertainment, and people used to have similar contests. Geoffrey Chaucer made a unique move by using these phenomena. He managed to represent in The Canterbury Tales many people of different origins.

Characters telling stories are representatives of different classes of Medieval England. The author described them in the prologue to The Canterbury Tales. He warns that the story’s style and essence will depend on the character. The stories of pilgrims are very contrasting in the subject. Some are related to the theme of love and betrayal, forgiveness, and greed, which disturb everybody. Some of them satirically depict the abuse of the Catholic Church. The subsequent contrast in the manner of storytelling, which changes with their tellers, demonstrates Chaucer’s skill. Modern readers can get acquainted with the translation of Tales from Middle English.

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IvyPanda. "In The Canterbury Tales, where does history end and legend begin?" November 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/in-the-canterbury-tales-where-does-history-end-and-legend-begin/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "In The Canterbury Tales, where does history end and legend begin?" November 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/in-the-canterbury-tales-where-does-history-end-and-legend-begin/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'In The Canterbury Tales, where does history end and legend begin'. 23 November.

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