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What is the Frame Narrative of the Canterbury Tales?

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The frame narrative of The Canterbury Tales includes thirty Pilgrims traveling to Canterbury Cathedral. Before they start, the innkeeper challenges them to tell four stories each on their way. He also promises dinner for the best narrative.

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Geoffrey Chaucer, a noble British author, wrote The Canterbury Tales in medieval England. The author used his work to portray English society in an ironic and critical way. The general plot includes the gathering of thirty travelers. They meet in the inn before their Pilgrimage to discuss and plan their journey. They are going to Saint Thomas Becket shrine, and the innkeeper has an idea about the entertainment on the way.

He suggests that each Pilgrim would tell two stories each way. This would make the long road pass faster and find out whose narrative would be the best. The prize for the most interesting one would be praise from the public and a free dinner at the inn. The language of The Tales is rather old-fashioned and ornate. So, modern readers need adapted interpretations for better understanding.

The Smithsonian Magazine provides an article about The Canterbury Tales. It allows one to see the meaning behind Chaucer’s language clearly. Students and scholars can find the prologue that explains the setting of the story in three different interpretations. Each has its charm. Readers could decide if they prefer a conservative or easy-to-understand modern version of The Tales to enjoy Chaucer’s work and dive into the medieval setting.

Since the book includes many diverse stories. So, the readers may choose to focus on selected chapters and learn about the heroes they like. Most Pilgrims do not know each other well before the journey. Some personal communication elements are present. Yet, most stories are independent and do not require prior knowledge to enjoy them. They bring the romantic and adventurous spirit of medieval England into the modern world.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "What is the Frame Narrative of the Canterbury Tales?" November 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-is-the-frame-narrative-of-the-canterbury-tales/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'What is the Frame Narrative of the Canterbury Tales'. 23 November.

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