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Including Chaucer, 30, though not all tell tales.
29 pilgrims, and Chaucer, the narrator, makes 30. Chaucer died before he finished writing the stories all the pilgrims were to tell. The plan was one on the way and one on the way back. They were all to vote based on entertainment value and the moral taught--the winner gets a free dinner paid for by everyone else upon their return to the Tabard Inn.
There were 30 pilgrims PLUS Chaucer and the Host. Twenty-nine meet at the Tabard, and the 30th joins on the way. Chaucer goes along as a naive observer--a "reporter," if you will. The Host, Harry Bailey, goes along as (1)the guide; (2) the one who suggests the idea of telling stories on the way to Canterbury and on the return from Canterbury to pass the time; (3)the judge for the best tale--the winner will receive a sumptuous feast paid for by the rest of the pilgrims.
29 characters as knight,squire,yeman, nunne;monk,friar,merchant,clerk,sargent of law,frankelyn ,wife of bath,doctor of physic.........
In the General Prologue of The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer the pilgrim describes a company of 29 pilgrims who arrive at the Tabard Inn. Chaucer writes:
Bifil that in that seson on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
At nyght was come into that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye (ll. 19-24)
In other words, Chaucer the pilgrim explains that he was ready to ride on a pilgrimage to Canterbury when a company of 29 pilgrims arrive at the Inn. Chaucer the pilgrim joins the company as does the inn-keeper, also known as the Host or Harry Bailey.
Thus, there are 31 total pilgrims who make the journey to Canterbury.
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