|The Canterbury Tales
Theme: Life in the Middle Ages
Grades: Grades 11-12
In the late Middle Ages, a group of English men and women from different
walks of life gather at the Tabard Inn outside London for a pilgrimage
to the shrine of Saint Thomas â Becket in Canterbury, England.
The Host of the Tabard proposes that the pilgrims pass the time on the
journey by telling stories; he offers to accompany the group, judge
the best story, and award the winner a meal, paid by all, when the group
returns to his inn. The pilgrims agree and begin telling tales, each
of which reflects the interests and personality of the teller. In the
sampling of tales presented in Literature Connections, the Knight
recounts a tale of chivalry; the Nun's Priest and the Pardoner tell
cautionary tales; the Summoner tells a ribald tale; and the Wife of
Bath, the Clerk, and the Franklin tell romantic tales of love and marriage.
Note: Some stories in The Canterbury Tales (for example,
"The Summoner's Tale") contain situations and language that some readers
may find objectionable. You may wish to preview the tales before assigning
them to your students.