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The pilgrims have stopped for the night at the Tabard, which is on their way to Canterbury, the site of a shrine to St. Thomas a’Becket (lines 15-19). Each pilgrim has his or her own reasons for making the journey and story to tell, and they have banded together to travel the roads more safely. The narrator has encountered them in the evening at the Tabard in Southwerk (line 20) and has managed to join their company. This is the set-up which the narrator uses to recount each character’s story.
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