What are three reasons The Canterbury Tales were and are important?  

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In addition to the other responses here, we can consider Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales important on a variety of levels. Since this is really a question of value, how we evaluate the importance of a text varies.

From a historical perspective, this text is an important marker in the evolution of the English literary language. It is considered the first highly important work written in the vernacular, and it shows us what people in London sounded like circa 1390. The language was polyglossic, merging Anglo, Latin, and French in a delightful hodgepodge that highlights our literary ancestors. Because it was written, we can see the phonetic sound of many of Chaucer's words as well.

From a historical perspective, we also can find allusions to events that indicate cultural and political values. The Peasants Revolt and the emergence of mechanical clock towers are just two such mentions that allow us to see what fourteenth-century readers would be expected to recognize. While satirical, the range...

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