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Ch 4: The Canterbury Tales Primary Characters

About This Chapter

Use the fun lessons and short quizzes in ''The Canterbury Tales'' Primary Characters chapter of this ''The Canterbury Tales'' Study Guide course to prepare for a quiz, test or assignment. These study resources can deepen your understanding and test your knowledge of these characters.

Who's It For?

Anyone who needs help learning or mastering the primary characters of The Canterbury Tales will benefit from the lessons in this chapter. There is no faster or easier way to learn about the primary characters in this collection of stories. Among those who would benefit are:

  • Students who want to learn a broad topic in a short amount of time
  • Students who are looking for easy ways to identify the most important information on the topic
  • Students who have fallen behind in memorizing The Canterbury Tales primary characters like Harry Bailly, the Knight, the Miller and the Reeve
  • Students who prefer multiple ways of learning literature (visual or auditory)
  • Students who have missed class time and need to catch up
  • Students who have limited time to study for an upcoming exam

How It Works:

  • Complete each lesson in the chapter to review all key topics.
  • Refer to the lesson to reinforce your learning.
  • Test your understanding of each lesson with a short quiz.
  • Complete your review with The Canterbury Tales Primary Characters chapter exam.

Why It Works:

  • Study Efficiently: The lessons in this chapter cover only information you need to know.
  • Retain What You Learn: Engaging instruction and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
  • Be Ready on Test Day: Take The Canterbury Tales Primary Characters chapter exam to make sure you're prepared.
  • Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any literature question. They're here to help!
  • Study With Flexibility: View lessons on any web-ready device.

Students Will Review:

This chapter summarizes the material students need to know about the primary characters in The Canterbury Tales for a standard literature course. Topics covered include:

  • Character analysis and description of Harry Bailly
  • Portrayal and description of the narrator of the tales
  • Descriptions of the Knight, the Miller, the Reeve and the Cook
  • Character analyses of the Man of Law and Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales
  • The Friar, the Summoner and the Clerk descriptions and character analyses
  • Descriptions and character analyses of the Merchant, the Squire and the Franklin
  • The Physician, the Pardoner, the Shipman and the Prioress descriptions
  • Analyses of Sir Thopas and Melibee
  • Social class, description, satire and criticism of the Monk
  • The Nun, the Nun's Priest and the Second nun analyses
  • Descriptions of the Yeoman, the Manciple and the Parson
  • Differences between the Pardoner and the Parson

31 Lessons in Chapter 4: The Canterbury Tales Primary Characters
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Canterbury Tales Character List & Flashcards

The Canterbury Tales Character List & Flashcards

This flashcard set will cover some of the major characters from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tale. You can use these cards to help you to study the pilgrims and their stories.

Harry Bailly the Host in The Canterbury Tales: Character Analysis & Description

2. Harry Bailly the Host in The Canterbury Tales: Character Analysis & Description

Harry Bailly is the Host of the Tabard Inn that is the impetus for ''The Canterbury Tales'' and also helps mitigate and reason with the characters during their journey.

Who is the Narrator of The Canterbury Tales? - Portrayal & Description

3. Who is the Narrator of The Canterbury Tales? - Portrayal & Description

'The Canterbury Tales' is a collection of twenty-four stories, about 17,000 lines, written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387 and 1400. Chaucer casts himself as the narrator, including himself as one of the story-telling characters.

The Knight in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Social Class

4. The Knight in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Social Class

This lesson focuses on the Knight, one of the leading characters in 'The Canterbury Tales' by Geoffrey Chaucer. We'll explore the Knight's characterization and social class.

The Miller in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Occupation

5. The Miller in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Occupation

One of the most colorful characters in Geoffrey Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales'' is the Miller, a brawny man with a wart on his nose. He makes his living grinding grain at the mill, where he adds to his income by cheating his customers.

The Reeve in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

6. The Reeve in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

In this lesson, learn that the Reeve in ''The Canterbury Tales'' is astute, shrewd, and crooked. His personality is really shown though in his story, showing that the Reeve may look professional but he also has a dark side.

The Cook in The Canterbury Tales: Physical Description & Social Class

7. The Cook in The Canterbury Tales: Physical Description & Social Class

Medieval cooks led a difficult life, which involved years of training, hard work, and often low pay. In this lesson, we'll learn about Chaucer's Cook, his appearance, and his social class.

The Man of Law in The Canterbury Tales: Appearance & Analysis

8. The Man of Law in The Canterbury Tales: Appearance & Analysis

''The Canterbury Tales'' is a series of tales told by pilgrims during their travels. In this lesson, we will examine the character of the Man of Law from Geoffrey Chaucer's collection of stories.

The Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

9. The Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

The Wife of Bath in ''The Canterbury Tales'' is a strong woman, who knows how to use her body to manipulate men, so that she can be who she wants. This lesson discusses who she is, and why she is called the Wife of Bath.

The Friar in The Canterbury Tales: Character Analysis, Description & Traits

10. The Friar in The Canterbury Tales: Character Analysis, Description & Traits

The Friar is one of the many religious figures in 'The Canterbury Tales' that is more crook than clergy. However, the Friar is still thought of fondly because he's very merry and entertaining.

The Summoner in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

11. The Summoner in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

The description of the Summoner's character and person as told by Chaucer in ''The Canterbury Tales'' reveals an individual who is not physically attractive externally, but demonstrates that he is just as ugly internally.

The Clerk in The Canterbury Tales: Physical Description & Character Analysis

12. The Clerk in The Canterbury Tales: Physical Description & Character Analysis

The Clerk in The Canterbury Tales is an insightful and thoughtful man whose tale on Patient Griselda provides a moral much different than what his tale implies.

The Merchant in The Canterbury Tales: Character Analysis & Description

13. The Merchant in The Canterbury Tales: Character Analysis & Description

The merchant from Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales' is a shrewd and opinionated individual. He takes great care in his appearance with the intent of having others think him successful, but in this lesson we'll explore whether it's truth or deception.

The Squire in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

14. The Squire in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

The Squire presented in Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales' is a young man apprenticed to his father to be a knight. He has a tremendous amount of talent, but the question is whether his talents lie in combat or music and art.

The Franklin in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Characterization

15. The Franklin in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Characterization

In 'The Canterbury Tales,' the Franklin has an enviable position in society, and he enjoys life to its fullest (stomach, that is). In this lesson, we'll learn about the description of the Franklin and discuss clues to his character.

The Physician in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Personality

16. The Physician in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Personality

Geoffrey Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' has often been praised for its vivid portrayal of characters representing a cross-section of late medieval English society. This lesson looks at the Physician and his characterization in the initial prologue, through his tale, and through responses to it.

The Pardoner in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Social Class

17. The Pardoner in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Social Class

This lesson will analyze the character of the Pardoner, with special attention to his social class and attitude toward his work. At the end of this lesson, students will be able to identify the Pardoner's primary character traits and evaluate Chaucer's attitude toward him.

The Shipman in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Quotes

18. The Shipman in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Quotes

In this lesson, we will examine the Shipman from Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales.' This character is a tough, experienced traveler with a well-hidden soft side.

The Prioress in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

19. The Prioress in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

The Prioress in ''The Canterbury Tales'' is a picture of contradictions. She is another example of the religious figures in the story not being all that they seem.

Sir Thopas in The Canterbury Tales

20. Sir Thopas in The Canterbury Tales

Sir Thopas is a knight in a tale shared by Chaucer during his journey with other travelers to Canterbury Cathedral. Chaucer doesn't get the chance to finish the tale of Sir Thopas however, because the Host takes issue with Chaucer's tone.

Melibee in The Canterbury Tales

21. Melibee in The Canterbury Tales

Chaucer himself tells The Tale of Melibee in The Canterbury Tales. It is a long-winded story about Melibee, who seeks vengeance yet heeds the advice of his wife and learns an important lesson about the value of women in the process.

The Monk in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Social Class

22. The Monk in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Social Class

The Monk in 'The Canterbury Tales' rejects the idea that a monk should be a man of God and withdraw from the world. In fact, this monk could be the worldliest man the Host has ever come across.

The Monk in The Canterbury Tales: Character Analysis, Satire & Criticism

23. The Monk in The Canterbury Tales: Character Analysis, Satire & Criticism

The Monk in ''The Canterbury Tales'' defies expectations of the poor and dutiful Church officer. By depicting his monk as enjoying a lavish lifestyle, Chaucer provides a critique of the clergy in this period.

The Nun's Priest in The Canterbury Tales

24. The Nun's Priest in The Canterbury Tales

For a tale in which the main characters are farm animals, 'The Nun's Priest's Tale' from Geoffrey Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales'' offers up opinions on a variety of topics including economic status, dream analysis, and moral behavior, all thrown together to create an entertaining story. In this lesson, we will discuss some of this.

The Nun in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

25. The Nun in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

In the character of the Nun, Chaucer describes a woman who should be concerned with charity and prayer, but instead has the air of a lady. With her courtly manners and false sentiment, the Nun is more concerned with appearances than anything else.

The Second Nun in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

26. The Second Nun in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

The Second Nun in 'The Canterbury Tales' is a somewhat cryptic character who denounces laziness and praises virginity. In this lesson, we'll learn about her description and discuss clues to her character.

The Canons in The Canterbury Tales

27. The Canons in The Canterbury Tales

''The Canterbury Tales'' includes two canons, both of whom are associated with 'The Canon's Yeoman's Tale'. These canons are depicted as untrustworthy and intentionally deceitful, which can be considered part of Chaucer's agenda of critiquing the clergy, as well as making the general point that people are not always what you would expect them to be.

The Yeoman in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Characterization

28. The Yeoman in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Characterization

The Yeoman joins the caravan to Canterbury late in Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales.'' The only description of this character comes from the Yeoman himself, and it proves to be more of a confessional as he tells all his sins.

The Manciple in The Canterbury Tales: Physical Description & Personality

29. The Manciple in The Canterbury Tales: Physical Description & Personality

The Manciple in ''The Canterbury Tales'' draws a lot of attention to the folly of others, which he most likely tries to avoid himself. In this lesson, we'll learn about the Manciple's physical appearance and personality.

The Parson in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

30. The Parson in The Canterbury Tales: Description & Character Analysis

The Parson is one of the few religious characters within ''The Canterbury Tales'' that actually appear to be faithful and true to his profession and calling. In this lesson, we'll discuss his character and the sermon he makes to his fellow travelers.

How is the Pardoner Different From the Parson in The Canterbury Tales?

31. How is the Pardoner Different From the Parson in The Canterbury Tales?

Despite their shared religious affiliation, the Pardoner and the Parson are very different characters in 'The Canterbury Tales.' The Pardoner's profession, and his interesting perspective on that profession, sets him apart from the Parson.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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