What is the Plowman's tale in "The Canterbury Tales"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two pseudo-Chaucerian texts of "The Plowman's Tale," but the one published around 1400 made it into "The Works of Chaucer." Later a Prologue was added in the 1500s to make it fit better into "The Canterbury Tales." However, a traveler with none of the characteristics of Chaucer's plowman is in it. Chaucer's plowman was a decent lower-class pilgrim who treats his neighbor fairly and pays his church tithes and taxes. He lives simply, with wisdom and strength for stamina. Chaucer characterizes him:

He would thresh, and thereto dike and delve /For Christe's sake, for every poore wight,/Withouten hire, if it lay in his might.

ederandrade | Student

The Canterbury Tales are stories told by a group of medieval pilgrims from London Medieval England, whom can be best described as many different characters such as a monk and a pardoner, travelling alongside a sailor, miller, carpenter, and a knight, among others. When the group stops for the night, the host of the pilgrimage proposes that they all tell stories to each other along the way. The pilgrims agree to tell four stories each, two on the way to Canterbury ( to where they are going to Canterbury to pay their respects to the tomb of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral).

As the Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories, some tales borrowed portions of previous stories from earlier stories, as well as from the general state of the literary world. The Plowman comes to scene when The Canterbury Tales introduces a Plowman who never receives a tale. This omission seems to have sparked the creativity of others from an early date.

Canterbury tale. Author: Geoffrey ChaucerI guess you can now figure "what is the plowman's tale in Canterbury tale?"


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The Canterbury Tales

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