illustration of a clergyman with Canterbury cathedral behind him

The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer

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What is the importance of Harry Bailey in the Canterbury Tales?

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Harry Bailey is the host at the inn. He suggests that each member of the pilgrimage tells two stories on their journey to Canterbury and two more on the way back. Harry feels this would make the journey to Canterbury more enjoyable. The person who tells the best story will get a delicious dinner paid for by the other members of the party. Harry decides he will go with the pilgrims and be the judge of the best story. Harry is important because he is the character who moves the plot forward for each pilgrim telling his/her story.

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