Copyright

Ch 7: The Canterbury Tales Summaries

About This Chapter

Review this study guide chapter to quickly summarize the stories from Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales''. These bite-sized lessons and quizzes can help you prepare for exams and improve your overall understanding of the stories' characters and plots.

Who's It For?

Anyone who needs help summarizing the stories from The Canterbury Tales will benefit from these lessons. There is no faster or easier way to summarize the prologues, structures and characters from each story. 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 studying the stories from The Canterbury Tales
  • Students who prefer multiple ways of learning about 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 The Canterbury Tales Summaries 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 The Canterbury Tales Summaries 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 stories students need to know from The Canterbury Tales for a standard literature course. The stories covered include:

  • The general prologue of The Canterbury Tales
  • ''The Knight's Tale''
  • ''The Miller's Tale''
  • ''The Reeve's Tale''
  • ''The Cook's Tale''
  • ''The Man of Law's Tale''
  • ''The Wife of Bath's Tale''
  • ''The Friar's Tale''
  • ''The Summoner's Tale''
  • ''The Clerk's Tale''
  • ''The Merchant's Tale''
  • ''The Squire's Tale''
  • ''The Franklin's Tale''
  • ''The Physician's Tale''
  • ''The Pardoner's Tale''
  • ''The Shipman's Tale''
  • ''The Prioress's Tale''
  • ''Tale of Sir Thopas''
  • ''Tale of Melibee''
  • ''The Monk's Tale''
  • ''The Nun's Priest's Tale''
  • ''The Second Nun's Tale''
  • ''The Yeoman's Tale''
  • ''The Manciple's Tale''
  • ''The Parson's Tale''
  • ''The Plowman's Tale''

26 Lessons in Chapter 7: The Canterbury Tales Summaries
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Canterbury Tales General Prologue: Style, Structure, and Characters

1. The Canterbury Tales General Prologue: Style, Structure, and Characters

In this lesson, we'll go over the General Prologue to Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. We'll take a look at some of the most interesting pilgrims and establish the frame narrative for the rest of the work.

The Knight's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

2. The Knight's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

The first tale in Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales'' comes from the knight, and examines honor and loyalty, traits one would normally associate with knights. This tale shows how strong a passion love creates and what men will do for it.

The Miller's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

3. The Miller's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

If you're reading Geoffrey Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales'', you'll most likely need all the help you can get, especially if you're not reading the modern language version. Let's take a look at the Miller's Tale and as the prologue leading to it.

The Reeve's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

4. The Reeve's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

The Reeve's Tale from ''The Canterbury Tales'' is full of twists and turns. If you are having a hard time following them all, take a look at this lesson where we take a close look at what happens with the Miller and his family.

The Cook's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

5. The Cook's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

If you are reading ''The Canterbury Tales,'' you might be confused by the Cook's Tale. This story is very different from the others and ends so abruptly that it needs an explanation. Take a look at this lesson to find out what is going on.

The Man of Law's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

6. The Man of Law's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

In this Tale, we have the story of a young girl who is at the mercy of her beauty. This lesson tells how she is saved by the goodness of her Christian heart, which she uses to convert those around her.

The Wife of Bath's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

7. The Wife of Bath's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

When it comes time for the Wife of Bath to tell her tale in Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales'', she takes a moment to delve into her views on the double standards created in favor of men and then emphasizes these views in her tale of the disgraced knight.

The Friar's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

8. The Friar's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

'The Canterbury Tales' is a tough read. This doesn't stop instructors from assigning it with sadistic glee. In this lesson, we will ease your burden and take a look at the 'Friar's Tale.'

The Summoner's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

9. The Summoner's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

The Summoner's Tale in Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales' is a lesson about anger and a diatribe against the friars. The Summoner has no love for friars, and takes this opportunity to present his opinion to the travelling group.

The Clerk's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

10. The Clerk's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

The Clerk's Tale, told in opposition of the Wife of Bath's Tale from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, at face-value offers a repugnant example of misogyny, but there might be more to it from this pensive traveler.

The Merchant's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

11. The Merchant's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

The merchant tells his tale about love in Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales''. The tale delves into a general reflection of love and marriage as the merchant describes an older gentleman who seeks a younger woman to be his wife.

The Squire's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

12. The Squire's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

Not all of the tales in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales are complete, and 'The Squire's Tale' happens to be truncated, with no clear indication whether the friar's interruption is an intentional disruption of the squire's descriptive tale of King Cambuscan.

The Franklin's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

13. The Franklin's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

''The Canterbury Tales'' is a complex work with many interrelated parts, so it can be useful to start with a basic overview of each character and the story he or she tells. In this lesson, we'll learn about the Franklin and summarize his prologue and tale.

The Physician's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

14. The Physician's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

The Physician's Tale is one of the shortest of 'The Canterbury Tales,' but it reveals a great deal about the importance of honor and virginity during the Middle Ages. In this lesson, we'll learn about the Physician and summarize his tale.

The Pardoner's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

15. The Pardoner's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

The tale the Pardoner tells has it all: drunken idiots, murder, death, lots of gold, and divine justice. In trying to get all the gold for themselves, the characters in his story manage to lose everything.

The Shipman's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

16. The Shipman's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

The Shipman is an interesting character who has traveled a great deal, and he doesn't have an idealized view of the clergy or marriage. In this lesson, we'll learn about the Shipman and summarize his tale about adultery and sex as currency.

The Prioress's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

17. The Prioress's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

If you are reading Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales,' you will eventually get to the Prioress's tale. You can get the scoop on her story and find out what is important to her by reading on.

Tale of Sir Thopas in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

18. Tale of Sir Thopas in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

The Tale of Sir Thopas in 'The Canterbury Tales' can be a tricky one to understand. In this lesson we will take a close look at the story as well as a it's effect on the host. Read on to find out more.

Tale of Melibee in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

19. Tale of Melibee in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

'The Tale of Melibee' is told by Chaucer as a character in ''The Canterbury Tales,'' which raises questions about Chaucer the poet. This lesson summarizes 'The Tale of Melibee,' which stresses Christian morals such as patience, wisdom and forgiveness.

The Monk's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

20. The Monk's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

'The Monk's Tale' in Chaucer's classic 'The Canterbury Tales' is a rather morose chronicle of the tragic fates of several well-known historical figures. The Monk claims to have many more tales to tell, but he is stopped by the Knight after seventeen stories.

The Nun's Priest's Tale: The Beast Fable of the Canterbury Tales

21. The Nun's Priest's Tale: The Beast Fable of the Canterbury Tales

In this lesson, we'll go over the medieval beast fable genre and take a look at the Nun's Priest's Tale, one of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that is illustrative of the genre.

The Second Nun's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

22. The Second Nun's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

Like 'The Physician's Tale,' 'The Second Nun's Tale' involves respected virgins facing unwanted sex, as well as (unsuccessful) beheading. In this lesson, we'll summarize the Second Nun's prologue and tale, which tell us about the legend of St. Cecilia.

The Yeoman's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

23. The Yeoman's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

A late addition to Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales,'' the yeoman's tale is a confessional as well as a cautionary tale regarding the works of alchemists and how this obsession will bring a man to ruin, both morally and economically.

The Manciple's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

24. The Manciple's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

The Manciple's Tale from Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales'' resembles one of Aesop's fables in that it provides a moral about human behavior. When Phoebus acts before taking careful consideration of a situation, it leads to unfortunate results.

The Parson's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

25. The Parson's Tale in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

'The Canterbury Tales' are full of lust, greed, and all other manner of sins. But in the last of the tale, we hear the true message of the story and finally meet a character who is moral and upstanding in the Parson.

The Plowman's Tale & The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

26. The Plowman's Tale & The Canterbury Tales: Prologue & Summary

'The Plowman's Tale', a late inclusion to Chaucer's ''The Canterbury Tales'', shows the reward of prayer, and how a devout monk was able to share his devotion with his congregation, to honor the life of Mary, Mother of God.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Support