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The Canterbury Tales | Study Guide

Geoffrey Chaucer

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Learn about the characters in Geoffrey Chaucer's collection of stories The Canterbury Tales with Course Hero's video study guide.

The Canterbury Tales | Characters

Character Description
Chaucer Chaucer is a pilgrim in the company and the narrator. Read More
Harry Bailey Harry Bailey, also called the "Host," is the owner of the Tabard Inn. Read More
Knight The Knight is a noble pilgrim recently back from the Crusades. Read More
Miller The Miller is a rude fellow who tells an insulting story about a carpenter. Read More
Reeve The Reeve shows his temper when he feels insulted. Read More
Wife of Bath The Wife of Bath is a seamstress from the town of Bath who has strong opinions about marriage. Read More
Pardoner The Pardoner sells indulgences for the Church but makes himself a tidy profit as well. Read More
Cook The Cook travels with several guildsmen, including a carpenter and a weaver.
Man of Law The Man (Sergeant) of Law is a discreet lawyer who seems busier than he really is.
Shipman The Shipman is a loud man who prefers a rousing tale to a sermon.
Prioress Madame Eglantyne, whose elegance seems a little phony, is nevertheless an entertaining companion.
Monk The Monk, an excellent hunter, prefers modern ways to traditional ones.
Nun's Priest Sir John, a charming priest traveling with a nun, tells a merry fable.
Physician The Physician makes good money as a doctor and keeps to a strict diet, but he neglects the Bible.
Friar The Friar, who has many friends and pays special attention to the young ladies, is not above accepting a bribe or two.
Summoner A man who brings sinners before the church for trial, the Summoner uses his position to extort the poor.
Clerk The Clerk is a university student who prefers books to fine clothes and food.
Merchant The Merchant has become wealthy and enjoys showing off his fine clothes and talking about his money.
Squire The Squire is the Knight's son, a youthful and accomplished noble.
Franklin The Franklin, a landowner but not a member of the nobility, lives for pleasure, especially the pleasures of food and drink.
Second Nun The Second Nun, a pious woman devoted to Mary, regards idleness as a destructive force.
Canon The Canon, who joins the company briefly before riding away and leaving his Yeoman, is an inept alchemist.
Canon's Yeoman The Canon's Yeoman joins the company after his employer, an alchemist, abandons him for giving away professional secrets.
Manciple The Manciple, who is in charge of purchasing food for an institution, has made more money than smarter men through shrewd investments.
Parson The most devout clergyman in the group, the virtuous parson always puts others first and gives selflessly to the poor and suffering.
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