General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer
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What is the theme and purpose of General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer?

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Without the "General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales," none of the other stories which comprise Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales would make as much sense or, frankly, have as much purpose. The "Prologue" provides the context for understanding the Tales

The purpose of the Prologue is twofold: to introduce the characters who are making this pilgrimage and to set the framework for the stories to follow.  

When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power...
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage....

We learn that these characters are all making a holy pilgrimage to the church at Canterbury, a popular religious destination after Thomas Beckett, a priest, was murdered and proclaimed a saint. After we meet them all, we are privy to a proposition made to the pilgrims by the innkeeper at the inn where they are staying for the night. Each of them will tell two stories on the way to Canterbury and two stories...

(The entire section contains 616 words.)

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