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In “the prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, how does Chaucer use the pilgrimage as a device?

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The Canterbury Tales is one of the well-known works of English literature. Written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century. It remains popular up till nowadays. It is a collection of 24 stories told by pilgrims during their journey from London to Canterbury. The Tales start with a prologue, where Chaucer describes the background of each storyteller. The pilgrimage narrative is mainly used as a framing device. It gives readers a general idea about the tales.

Detailed answer:

The prologue is an introductory part of a book. Here the author introduces the characters and describes the setting of the narration. In The Canterbury Tales, all stories are told by individual characters. Hence, it is crucial to understand their background. Chaucer describes each person in detail. He includes their occupation, social status, traits, and some important facts from their lives. These descriptionsn are followed by their tales. The stories become clearer after the pilgrims’ characters are revealed in the prologue. The introduction of the pilgrims’ goals and destination creates sets a particular tone. It also creates an atmosphere of the narration.

Another function of the prologue is to specify circumstances in which the whole story takes place. From the prologue, readers learn the general background of the book. The characters gathered to make a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas at Canterbury. To pass the time in their journey, they decide to hold a storytelling competition. Overall, pilgrimage in the prologue has a symbolic and descriptive meaning. It is used to frame the narration and introduce its characters.

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IvyPanda. "In “the prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, how does Chaucer use the pilgrimage as a device?" November 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/in-the-prologue-to-the-canterbury-tales-how-does-chaucer-use-the-pilgrimage-as-a-device/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "In “the prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, how does Chaucer use the pilgrimage as a device?" November 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/in-the-prologue-to-the-canterbury-tales-how-does-chaucer-use-the-pilgrimage-as-a-device/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'In “the prologue” to The Canterbury Tales, how does Chaucer use the pilgrimage as a device'. 23 November.

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