For the post of Written Recruitment Test for the post of Postgraduate Assistants in Tamil Nadu Higher Secondary Educational Service.

Syllabus: English (Subject Code: P02)

Unit-I – MODERN LITERATURE (1400-1600)

This material contains

  1. Author’s details
    1. General information about the work
    1. Summary
    1. Opening and closing lines
    1. Important lines/ quotations
    1. Literary devices
    1. Critics view
    1. Questions

Age of Chaucer 1350-1550

Title    –           The prologue to The Canterbury Tales

About the Author

The first of the “Chaucer Life Records” appears in 1357

Author            –        Geoffrey Chaucer

Birth    –           Chaucer was born in 1340 in the reign of King Edward Ill in

                        London. He lived through the reign of Richard II

Death –           died on October 25, 1400, a year after Henry IV ascended the

                        throne. He was the first poet buried in Westminster Abbey, now

                        called as Poet’s Corner

Wife    –           Philippa Roet,  a sister of John of Gaunt’s third wife.

Patron            –        John of Gaunt

Post held –     Chaucer worked as a courtier, a diplomat, and a civil servant and worked for the king from 1389 to 1391 as Clerk of the King’s Works at the age of seventeen Page with Duke of Clarence. He was appointed Comptroller of the Petty Customs of the port of London in 1382.

Scotish chaucerianism

            Chaucer influenced  many Scottish writers and they are calledScottish “Chaucerianism”. They are Robert HenrysonWilliam Dunbar, and Gavin Douglas.


             According to John Dryden, Chaucer is the father of English poetry. John Dryden, in the Preface to the Fables: Ancient and Modern, states that “It remains that I say somewhat of Chaucer in particular. In the first place, as he is the father of English poetry, so I hold him in the same degree of veneration as the Grecians held Homer or the Romans Virgil.” He is learned in all subjects and speaks properly on all subjects and  here is God’s plenty.

Arnold called him 

                        Morning star of Renaissance,

                        with him born real poetry,                                  

                        Chaucer has no high seriousness and                                    

                        First great poet in English literature

Albert called him as   the earliest of the great moderns

H.A.Beers  says, Chaucer is a poet of lusty spring.

Spenser called him as the well of English undefined

            Longoisu Crazamian said, Chaucer’s poetry lines are broken an uneven Judged by the ear rather than by the eye.our first Modern poet.

            Lowes said that he found English a dialect and left it a language. 

            He introduced to the field of literature – Rhyme Royal, Heroic couplet.

Chaucer use heroic couplet  in the Legend of Good Women and the Canterbury Tales..

            Chaucer first used the rhyme royal stanza in his poems Troilus and Criseyde and Parlement of Foules and also used it for four of the Canterbury Tales: the Man of Law’s Tale, the Prioress’ Tale, the Clerk’s Tale, and the Second Nun’s Tale. He has adapted the form from a French ballade stanza or from the Italian ottava rima, with the omission of the fifth line.

            The rhyme royal stanza consists of seven lines, usually in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme is a-b-a-b-b-c-c. The stanza can be constructed either as a tercet and two couplets (a-b-a, b-b, c-c) or a quatrain and a tercet (a-b-a-b, b-c-c).

            Chaucer wrote in English when the court poetry of his day was written in Anglo-Norman and Latin.


French works

The Romaunt of the Roser – 1360

            It is an allegorical poem written in octosyllabic couplets. This poem was originally based upon a French work Le Romaunt de la Rose composed by Guillaumede Lorris and jean de Meung. It is a Love satire.

The Book of the Duchesse (1369):                                                       

            Chaucer composed this poem in eight-syllabic line. It was composed when John of Gaunt’s wife died. It is his first published work.

The Compleynt unto Pite


The Compleynt of Mars

Italian works           

Torilus and Criseyde : Its subject was adopted from Boccaccio’s Decameron. It was written in rhyme royal and considered the first novel in English. Chaucer dedicated this poem to John Gower.

The House of the Fame: It is a dream-allegory type poem written in octosyllabic couplets.It bears close resemblance to Dante’s Divine Comedy.

The Legend of Good Women: The poem is first known attempt to use the heroic couplet in English but it remains incomplete.

Anelida and Arcite

The Parlement of Foules

English works

The Canterbury Tales

The lak of sted fastnesses

Compleynte to Chaucer’s to his empty purse.


John Wycliffe translated Bible

John Gower  wrote  Confessio Amantis 

William Langland wrote Piers Plowman

John Lydgate Story of Thebes is considered the supposed addition of The Canterbury Tales is written.

About the Work

The Canterbury Tales were written in Middle English.

Type   –           Narrative poems in Ten syllabic-couplet or Heroic couplet

Influence –     Boccaccio’s ‘Decameron’. Chaucer’s stories imitate his Italian contemporaries Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio. Chaucer imitated many of these stories of Decameron for his Canterbury Tales.

About             –           The society in England of his period

Narrator –       Chaucer

Period            –           Renaissance (Medieval)

Dialect used-            East Midland Dialects

                                            Genre in the Canterbury Tales

            The Canterbury Tales has contributed innovative use of literary genres to the Medieval culture for Chaucer’s Tales is one of the examples the genre known as estates satire. The estates satire provides important documentation in explaining how medieval life made sense of and coped with the regimented class system and all the rules that went along with it.

            It also comprises many literary genres like courtly romance, fabliau, exemplum, allegory, beast fable, sermon, religious compositions.

An exemplum – It is to introduce a moral message through a story with real or fictitious characters. The Pardoner’s Tale is an extended exemplum that illustrates a moral point. The moral of the story is that greed is the root of all evil

Medieval courtly romance – It concerns stories of knights, ladies, noble families, very polite, and honest men behavior towards women and a set of valuable ideas as chivalry.    The Wife of Bath’s Tale is a blend of courtly romance, with its necessary elements: the knight, chivalric transformation, courtesy and an ironical satire on the gender relationship in Medieval England, with a social and political meaning.

            A beast fable is an allegorical medieval genre, stories with personified animals as characters.    The Nun’s Priest’s Tale relates to the tale of the Chanticleer and the Fox, which was perpetual popular in the Medieval Ages.     

The General Prologue

            The General Prologue’ is appended to The Canterbury Tales. Canterbury Tales was a collection of stories to be told by a group of pilgrims.  There are 30 pilgrims including Chaucer. They go on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Thomas Becket at Canterbury from London. In the way they stay in Tabard Inn in Southwark. The innkeeper proposes that each one of the pilgrims tell two stories on the way to Canterbury to help pass the time, and then two stories on the way back. The host will be the judge.  The inn keeper promises the person telling the best tale will have free dinner paid for by all of others at the inn when they return.

            The pilgrims agreed to tell their tales.

            The knight tells the first tale and The Parson tells the last tale. Chaucer tells the tale of Melibeus. The tales of Malibeus and Parson are composed in prose. All other tales are composed in decasyallabic, heroic couplet. There are total twenty finished and four partly completed tales in The Canterbury Tales.

            The Canterbury Tales reveals the society of Chaucer’s period.

            Chaucer conveyed a straightforward commentary on social hierarchy and a diversity of English society. He praised the vernacular language.

            Chaucer introduces the aristocracy first then the clergy next come merchants and skilled tradesman. The workers, farmers, and peasants are in rear.

            English artist William Blake depicts the procession leaving the Inn. Blake shows the Knight and Squire leading the group of pilgrims.

            The Knight and Squire represent the military estate.

            The clergy is represented by the Prioress and her nun and three priests, the Monk, the Friar, and the Parson.

            The landowners, the Franklin, professionals, the Clerk, the Man of Law, the Guildsmen, the Physician, and the Shipman, laborers, the Cook and the Plowman, stewards,the Miller, the Manciple, and the Reeve, and church officers, the Summoner and the Pardoner.

The prologue begins as

            Medieval English                                                    Modern English translation

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote              –           When April with its sweet-

                                                                                                smelling showers
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,-            Has pierced the drought of

                                                                                                March to the root,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour             –           And bathed every vein (of the

                                                                                                plants) in such liquid

Of which vertu engendred is the flour;                –           By which power the flower is

Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth       –           When the West Wind also with

                                                                                                            its sweet breath,
Inspired hath in every holt and heath                  –           In every wood and field has

                                                                                                            breathed life into
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne          –          The tender new leaves, and

                                                                                                            the young sun
Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,              –           Has run half its course in

And smale foweles maken melodye,                   –           And small fowls make melody,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye                 –           Those that sleep all the night

                                                                                                            with open eyes
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),               –           (So Nature incites them in

                                                                                                            their hearts),

Summary of the Canterbury tales

            In April in spring  when the west wind with its half-course in Ram, the first division of the Zodiac, and when the small bird keep awake all night singing melodiously, people use to go on pilgrimages. Pilgrims holding palm leaves in their hands travel to Canterbury in order to visit the shrine of the holy blessed marty Thomas Becket. They stayed at the Tabard Inn in Southwark.

The Pilgrims

The Narrator, Chaucer

            The narrator is also a character, pilgrim in his book. The narrator presents himself as a gregarious and naïve character. He writes down his impressions of the pilgrims.

            Chaucer tells The Tale of Sir Thopas, a florid in rhyming couplets. The Host interrupts Chaucer into this tale, and tells him to tell another, Chaucer then tells moral prose story of  Melibee.

The Host 

            The host name is Harry Bailey. He is the leader of the group. He is large, loud, and merry, although he possesses a quick temper. He mediates among the pilgrims and facilitates the flow of the tales. His title of “host” may be a pun, suggesting both an innkeeper and the Eucharist, or Holy Host. Host was a striking man, fit to be a marshal in a hall.


            The Knight was the most distinguished man. He loved and followed the ideals of chivalry, truth, honour, generosity and courtesy.

            He fought at Alexandria when it was captured by King Peter of Cyprus in 1365. He had fought in fifteen deadly battles, and had also fought has fought in the crusades for the Christian faith thrice in tournaments at Tramyssene in Algeria.

            He had a fine horse. He was not splendidly dressed. He wore a doublet of fustian, a kind of coarse cloth, all soiled by his coat of mail, for he had recently returned from his voyage and was now going to Canterbury to make his pilgrimage.

            Knight is the first pilgrim described in the General Prologue, and the teller of the first tale. The Knight represents the ideal of a medieval Christian man-at-arms. He is brave, experienced, and prudent. The narrator, Chaucer greatly admires him. The Knight’s Tale is a tale about two knights, Arcite and Palamon.

A young Squire

            He was Knight’s son. The young Squire was a lover and an aspirant for knighthood. He was twenty years old. He was of moderate height and had great strength. He had been once in cavalry in Flanders, in Artois and in Picardy. He had been in the army for only a short time. He hoped to win a lady’s favour by his good record on the battlefield. His garment was so embroidered, a meadow full of fresh flowers, white and red. He was all the day singing or playing on his flute. He was fresh as is the month of May. His gown was short with long and wide sleeves. He could sit graceful on his horse and ride very well. He could compose songs and recite them well. He could engage himself in combat, and also dance, draw and write well. He slept no more at night than does a nightingale. He was courteous, humble, and serviceable, and carved to serve his father at the table.

            The Squire’s Tale begins with a mysterious knight arriving at the court of Tartary. It is incomplete tale.

The Yeoman 

            A Yeoman (second servant) accompanies the Knight and the Squire to attend on him. The Yeoman wore a coat and hood of green colour. He carried with great care a sheaf of peacock arrows, bright and sharp under his belt. On his breast he wrote a bright silver medal having the figure of St. Christopher. He carried a hunting horn. He was truly a forester. His  belt was green. He is a trained craftsman.

The Prioress 

            The Prioress name was Madam Eglantine. The Prioress is a modest, shy and quiet nun. She is the head of her convent. She aspires to have exquisite taste. Her table manners are dainty. When she had finished her drink no trace of grease was seen in her cup. She dresses well, and she is charitable and compassionate. Her greatest oath was merely “By St. Loy!”. She spoke French fluently and elegantly, following the manner of the school of Stratford-at-Bow.

            She kept some small dogs. She fed them with roasted meat with milk. She weeps bitterly if any of them dies or anybody hit one of them with a stick sharply.

            She carried a small coral rosary on her arm. It had large beads of green, and upon  it hung a brooch of brightest gold, on which engraved a crowned “A” and then the words “Amor Vincit Omnia” or “Love Conquers All.”

            She had another nun with her as her chaplain. She had also three priests with her.

            Her tale is about a young Christian child who lived in a town in Asia that was dominated by a vicious Jewish population. The story ends with a lament for the young boy and a curse for the Jews.

The Second Nun 

            The Second Nun is not described in the General Prologue, but she tells a saint’s life for her tale.

            This tale is a biography of Saint Cecilia, who converts her husband and brother to Christianity during the time of the Roman Empire, when Christian beliefs were illegal.

            After the Second Nun finishes her tale, a Canon, alchemist and his Yeoman join the band of travelers. The Canon’s Yeoman’s tells a story of the work of a canon. It means that they defraud people by making them think that they can duplicate money.

The Nun’s Priest 

            Like the Second Nun, the Nun’s Priest is also not described in the General Prologue. His story uses the tradition of the Beast Fable,  Chanticleer. The moral of “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is Never trust a flatterer.

The Monk 

            The monk was a dominating kind of man. He was an out-rider. His duty was to supervise the monastery’s estates; inspecting farms but hunting were his passions.

            He ignored the old and strict rules of monastic discipline established by St. Maur and St. Benedict. Most monks of the middle Ages lived in monasteries according to the Rule of Saint Benedict, demanded to devote their lives to “work and prayer.” But this Monk cares little for the rule. His devotion is to hunting and eating. He is large, loud, and well clad in hunting boots and furs. Hunters are not holy men or that a monk spending even a little time outside the cloister is like a fish out of water.

            All his pleasure was in hard riding and hunting of the hare. He liked best a whole roasted swan. His saddle-horse which he rode was as brown as a berry.

            The Monk’s Tale is not a narrative tale but an account of various historical and literary figures who experience a fall from grace. The Knight interrupts the Monk’s Tale.

The Friar 

            The Friar name is Hubert. The Friar was a gay and merry fellow. He was a limiter and a very important person. A friar is licensed to beg within a particular area. He uses such flattering language or such an adept in glib speech. He had performed a large number of marriages of young women at his own cost. Ironically said, he was a noble pillar of his order. He was well-known to all the taverns, the rich farmers all over his country and well loved by them, and also by the worthy women of the town. He was authorized by his order to hear confessions more than a parish priest because of the papal license. He could sing well and play on a harp. His neck was as white as the lily. He was as strong as a champion. His reading of the opening verses of the Gospel of St. John was so pleasant. He was like a high official or a Pope.

            Roaming priests are no tie not to a monastery, friars were a great object of criticism in Chaucer’s time. He is always ready to befriend young women or rich men who might need his services, the friar actively administers the sacraments in his town, especially those of marriage and confession. This Friar has taken to accepting bribes.

            The Friar’s Tale tells about a wicked summoner.

The Merchant 

            The merchant was from  Flanders. He has a forked beard. His clothes were multi-coloured, and he sat high on his horse. He had on his head Flemish beaver-hat. His boots were fairly and neatly buckled. He wished that the sea between the port of Middleburgh and the river Orwell should be guarded at any cost against the danger from pirates. This worthy man always retained his wits

            The Merchant trades in furs and other cloths, mostly from Flanders. He is part of a powerful and wealthy class in Chaucer’s society.

            The Merchant praises Griselde for her steadfast character. He tells a story of January, an elderly blind knight marries the young and beautiful May

Clerk of Oxford

            The Clerk of Oxford is a is an unemployed Oxford student. He had studied logic for a long time. His horse was as lean as a rake. He has twenty books of Aristotle and his philosophy, bound in black and red, rather than rich robes, fiddle or a merry harp. He was a philosopher, alchemist.

            The Clerk is a poor student. He has spent his money on books and learning rather than on fine clothes, he is worn and wan. He speaks little but his words are wise and full of moral virtue.

            The Clerk tells the tale on the orders of the Host. The Clerk’s Tale is about Walter, an Italian marquis who finally decides to take a wife after the people of his province object to his longtime status as a bachelor. The Clerk ends with the advice that women should strive to be as steadfast as Griselda.

The Man of Law or Sergeant-at-Law

            The Sergeant-at-Law was prudent and wise. He had often visited the Church-porch, a room over St. Paul’s porch, a resort for lawyers. He was very proficient in his profession. He was discreet and worthy of great respect. His words were full of wisdom. He functioned as a judge by virtue of a letter of appointment from the King often. He could quote all the court cases and judgment that had taken place since the time of King William the Conqueror.

            He is a successful lawyer commissioned by the king. He upholds justice in matters large and small and knows every statute of England’s law by heart.

Man of Law’s Tale tells the story of Constance, the daughter of a Roman emperor.

The Franklin 

            The word “franklin” means “free man.” A Franklin was neither a vassal serving a lord nor a member of the nobility. This Franklin is a connoisseur of food and wine. His table remains laid and ready for food all day. He loved a cake, dipped in wine for breakfast.

            He has beard as white as a daisy, but he had a ruddy complexion. He lives a life of pleasure. He was a great follower of the philosophy of Epicurus who held that sheer sensuous pleasure was perfect bliss. He was as hospitable as Saint Julian himself. Julian was the Patron Saint of hospitability.

            A dagger and a silk bag hung at his girdle. He had been a sheriff and an auditor.

            The Franklin’s Tale is about the marriage between the knight Arviragus and his wife, Dorigen.

The Guildsmen 

            The five Guildsmen are a haberdasher, a Carpenter, a Weaver, a Dyer, and a Tapestry-maker. They appear as a unit. English guilds were a combination of labor unions and social fraternities. They are clad in the livery of their brotherhood. Craftsmen of similar occupations joined together to increase their bargaining power and live communally.

The Cook 

            The Cook’s name is Roger of ware. The Cook works for the Guildsmen. Chaucer gives little detail about him. Chaucer mentions a crusty sore on the Cook’s leg. The cook occasionally boils the chickens with the marrow-bones and pungent spices and flavour. This cook could well distinguish the London ale by flavour.

            The Cook’s Tale is unfinished, exists as a fragment.

The Shipman 

            The Shipman is hailing from far west, Dartmouth. He had stolen wine from the cargo on the voyage from Bordeaux while the ship’s captain sleeps. His ship was known as the Madelaine. There was none his equal from Hull, in Yorkshire to Carthage, in Spain. He was familiar with all the harbours from Gotland to the Cape of Finisterre and every creek in Brittany and Spain. The Shipman has brown-skinned from years of sailing and has seen every bay and river in England and exotic ports in Spain and Carthage as well. He is a bit of a rascal, known for stealing wine. The Shipman’s Taleis the story of a thrifty merchant and his wife. 

The Physician 

            Physician could speak on medicine and surgery with such authority because he was well instructed in astronomy and the influence of the stars on the health of individuals. All his apothecaries, chemists and druggists were ever ready with the drugs he would prescribe. They helped one another to make profits. Their friendship was of long-standing.

            He knew well the authors of the principal medical textbooks – Old Aesculapias, Dioscorides, Rufus, Old Hippocrates, Haly, Galen, Serapion, Rhasis, Avicenna, Averroes, Damascene, Constantine, Bernard, Gatisden and Gilbertine. His knowledge of the Bible was very meager.

            His clothes were blood-red and blue-gray in colour, and were lined with taffeta and silk. He keeps gold and was careful in spending his money.

            Though the Physician keeps himself in perfect physical health, Chaucer questioned the Physician’s spiritual health. He rarely consults the Bible and has an unhealthy love of gold and financial gain.

            His tale is about Virginius, a rich and honorable knight and his beautiful daughter Virginia.

The Wife of Bath 

            Her first name is Alison. Bath is the name of an English town on the Avon River. She is a seamstress by occupation. She seems to be a professional wife. She presents herself as someone who loves marriage and sex, and also takes pleasure in rich attire, talking, and arguing. Her philosophy of marriage shows that she is a strong person with keen awareness of her own rights.

         Chaucer presents her as crude, vulgar, outspoken and boastfully licentious and  bubbling with vitality.

She is deaf in one ear and has a gap between her front teeth, which was considered attractive in Chaucer’s time.

            She was an expert in weaving cloth that she surpassed the workmen of Ypres and Gaunt. The kerchief she wore on her head on a Sunday have weighed ten pounds. Her stockings were scarlet red in colour and they were tightly gartered. She was a worthy woman all her life. She had five husbands, all married at the church door, besides other loves she had in her youth. Her fifth husband’s name is Jankyn. She had been thrice to Jerusalem. She had been to Rome, to Boulogne, to the shrine of St. James in Galicia and to Cologne.

The Wife of Bath begins her tale with a long dissert all on marriage recounts each of her five husbands.


            He was a good man of religion. He was a poor Parson in a town but he was rich in holy thoughts and holy work and honest. He criticized the corrupt clergy. He was a learned man, a scholar who would truly preach Christ’s Gospel and teach his parishioners earnestly. He was kind-hearted and wonderfully diligent.

            He took the relevant words from the Bible and supplemented them with the metaphor: “If gold rusts, what can iron do?”

            He taught the Gospel of Christ and his twelve Apostles. However first he himself followed that Gospel.

            He is the only devout churchman in the company. He preaches the Gospel and makes sure to practice what he preaches. He is everything that the Monk, the Friar, and the Pardoner are not.

            The Parson tells the final tale. The Parson’s Tale is not a narrative tale in prose at all but extended sermon on the nature of sin and the three parts necessary for forgiveness: contrition, confession, and satisfaction. The tale gives examples of the seven deadly sins.

The Plowman 

            He is a member of the peasant class. He was parson’s brother. He had carried many cart-loads of dung from one place to another. He was a good and faithful worker. He loved God with all his heart at all times, whether in adversity or prosperity.

            He is equally good-hearted. He pays his tithes tax to the Church and leads a good Christian life.

The Miller 

            The Miller has a wart on his nose and a big mouth, both literally and figuratively. He threatens the Host’s notion of priority when he drunkenly insists on telling the second tale. He ruins the Host’s carefully planned storytelling order; and he tells a tale that is somewhat blasphemous, ridiculing religious clerks, scholarly clerks, carpenters, and women. He was a stout person, with powerful muscles and large bones. He is wrestler. He would always carry away the prize at wrestling. He was a loose talker and a joker, and his talk was mostly of sin and lewdness. He had a thumb of gold. He was an honest miller. According to the proverb, an honest miller has thumb of gold.

            The Miller’s tale is about an old carpenter who has a young wife and is duped by the suitor of his wife.The Miller’s Tale is a comic tale. In many ways it is a version of the Knight’s tale.


            He belongs to an Inn of Court. He was in charge of getting provisions for a college or court. He was so clever in buying provisions that other might learn from him how to be wise in buying. He made a good bargain.

            Despite his lack of education, this Manciple is smarter than the thirty lawyers he feeds.

            The Manciple’s Tale is the story of how Phoebus, jealous husband monitored his wife closely, fearing that she would be unfaithful.

The Reeve 

            He was a good workman, a carpenter. He was a slender, ill-tempered man. His beard was shaven as close as possible. His hair was closely cropped and cut short around the ears like that of a priest. He had been submitting the accounts to his master ever since he was twenty years old.

            He was similar to a steward of a manor, and he performs his job shrewdly his lord never loses. However, he steals from his master.

            The Reeve’s Tale tells the story of a dishonest Miller, Symkyn.

The Summoner 

            The Summoner brings persons accused of violating Church law to ecclesiastical court. This Summoner is a lecherous man. His face is scarred by leprosy. He gets drunk frequently. He is irritable and is not qualified for his position. He spouts the few words of Latin he knows in an attempt to sound educated. He was as hot and passionate as a sparrow. He was very fond of garlic, onions and also leeks. The Summoner was enraged by the Friar’s Tale. He tells a short anecdote.

The Pardoner 

            Pardoners granted papal indulgences, reprieves from penance in exchange for charitable donations to the Church. He gets bribe from those who stole property and committed other crimes. Many pardoners, like him collected profits for themselves. He excels in fraud, carrying a bag full of fake relics like he claims to have the veil of the Virgin Mary. The Pardoner has long greasy yellow hair and is beardless. These characteristics were associated with shiftiness and gender ambiguity in Chaucer’s time. He also has a gift for singing and preaching whenever he finds himself inside a church. A gentle Pardoner of Rouncivale, was his friend and comrade. He said that he had come straight from the court of Rome. In a very loud voice he sang: “Come hither, Love, to me!”

            In his bag he had a pillow-case which he says, was Virgin Mary’s veil.

            He had a cross made of brass and studded with gems, and in a glass he had pig’s bone.

            The Pardoner’s Tale concerns three rioters who search for Death.

Cross section of the pilgrims

           Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the pilgrimsare made up of three social groups as Nobility, church and commoners. The Canterbury Tales instead of revealing England’s divisions it revealed in its diversity by portraying the characters.

The upper classes               – the Knight and his son, the Squire and The Prioress.

The learned professions    – the Man of law, the Doctor, the Clerk of Oxford and the


The commercial class         – The Merchant and the Shipman

Traders and craftsmen        – The Wife of Bath, who is an expert cloth-marker, the                                                                Haberdasher, a Carpenter, a weaver, a dyer and a           

                                                   Tapestry maker

The landed gentry, clergy   – The Franklin

The religious people           – The Monk, Prioress, the Friar, the Pardoner, the

                                                   Summoner,  the Parson.

            The clerk of Oxford is also sincerely devoted to a religious life.

The Seven Deadly Sins

            Gluttony, Avarice, Wrath, Lust, Pride, Envy, and Sloth are all commonly known as the “Seven Deadly Sins”. Each of these seven sins plays a major role in development of the different characters. The Pardoner committed sins through gluttony and avarice; the Wife of Bath through Pride and Lust; and the Monk through gluttony and wrath. 


  1. It is decided that each Canterbury pilgrim would tell in all:

         A. One story                                                              B. Two stories          

         C. Three stories                                                        D. Four stories

         A) Harry Bailey                                          B) Nathan Bailey         

         C) Harry Blamires                                     D) Joan Baillie

         ‘Poudre marchant tart’ in the lines given above from “The Canterbury Tales” seems to have

         A) root of the sweet cypress              B) strong seasoning

         C) soup                                                 D) medieval curry powder

         In the lines given above, Faustus is thinking of the profit to be gained – like Chaucer’s

         __________ in “The Canterbury Tales”.

         A) Miller            B) Monk         C) the Wife of Bath              D) Doctor of Physic

         A) Sidney                                                B) Spenser

         C) Amold                                                 D) Johnson

         A) Pamela                                               B) Clarrisa Harlowe

         C) Prologue to Canterbury Tales        D) Sir Charles Grandison

         A) Spenser                                              B) Sidney

         C) Donne                                                D) Chaucer

         A) The prologue to Canterbury tales  B) The Shepherd’s Calendar

         C) The Spanish Tragedy                      D) Hero and Leander

         A) Coffee Houses                                  B) Theatre

         C) Tabard inn                                         D) Cathdral

  1. How many pilgrims set out on pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury?

         A) 27                   B) 28                  C) 29                                 D) 30

  1. Two of the stories in The Canterbury Tales are in prose. They are

         A) Melibeus Tale and The Parson’s Tale                          

         B) Second Nun’s Tale and Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale

         C) Manciple’s Tale and Parson’s Tale        D) Nun’s Priest Tale and Monk’s Tale.

  1. In chaucer’s Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, the pilgrims are on their way to the shrine of ………..

         A) Samuel Becket                                  B) St. Jerome        

         C) Thomas Becket                                 D) St. Luke

  1. In Chaucer’s ‘Prologue to Canterbury Tales’ the shipman is the owner of a vessel called

         A) Madelaine                                          B) Victoria              

         C) Baltic                                                   D) Princess

  1. The wife of Bath besides countless lovers has married ………………. husbands.

         A) Two              B) Six                             C) Four                    D) Five

  1. In the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales which two characters are examples of   deep Christian goodness?

         I. the Summoner                                                      II. the Parson           

         III. the Ploughman                                                   IV. the Pardoner

         The right combination according to the code is

         A) I and II                   B) II and IV                            C) II and III                 D) I and IV

  1. From among the Canterbury pilgrims, which group would qualify as the ‘upper class’?

         A) The Pardoner, The Miller, The Nun’s Priest

         B) Franklin, Parson, Wife of Bath

         C) The Knight, The Squire, The Prioress

         D) The Reeve, TheManciple, The Clerk

  1. Which Canterbury pilgrim carries a brooch inscribed with the Latin words meaning “Love Conquers All”?

         A) The Prioress                                                        B) The Monk            

         C) The Wife of Bath                                                 D) The Squire

  1. One of the following Canterbury Tales is in prose, identify.

         A) The Pardoner’s Tale                                           B) The Parson’s Tale

         C) The Monk’s Tale                                                 D) The Knight’s Tale

  1. Chaucer satirizes the Monk because the Monk :

         A) is too concerned with courtesy and matters of etiquette

         B) cheats the poor peasants by selling them false religious relics

         C) courtsfavour of wealthy people but spends no time with poor people

         D) spends too much time hunting and too little time on religious duty

         And this figure he added eek therto,

         That if gold ruste, what shalirendo ?”

         In the Prologue the Parson is represented as a man :

         1. who loved money                                                2. who criticized the corrupt clergy

         3. who practiced what he preached       4. who was a poor but honest clerk

         Find the correct combination according to the code :

         A) 1, 2 and 3 are correct                                          B) 1, 2 and 4 are correct

         C) 2, 3 and 4 are correct                                         D) 1, 3 and 4 are correct

         A) Slow and steady wins the race                        B) Greed is the root of all evil

         C) Beauty lies within                                               D)Never trust a flatterer

         A)pardoner                B)summoner                         C) journeyman         D)manciple

         A) The Knight’s Tale                                               B) The Monk’s Tale

         C) The Nun’s Priest’s Tale                                     D) The Miller’s Tale

         A) Is a strong person with keen awareness of her own rights?

         B) Tends to say one thing and do the opposite.

         C) Cares only for pleasure, not for right and wrong.

         D) Trusts thought too much instead of feeling.

         A) ten-syllabicline    B) eight-syllabicline  C) rhyme royal       D) ottavarima

         A) Meekness             B) Defiance            C) Chastity           D) Experience

         A) “The General Prologue’ is appended to The Canterbury Tales.

         B) In all, Chaucer tells thirty tales in this work.

         C) The Canterbury Tales remained unfinished at the time of its author’s death.

         D) The Wife of Bath, The Clerk, Sir Gawain and The Franklin are characters and tale-tellers in this work.

         A) Irony                                                                      B) Simile                   

         C) Understatement                                                  D) Personification

         Housbondes at chirche-dore she haddefyve,

         In the ‘Prologue’ Chaucer represents the Wife of Bath as:

         I. crude and vulgar

         II. outspoken and boastfully licentious

         III. a witness to masculine oppression

         IV. bubbling with vitality

         Find the correct combination according to the code:

         A) I, II and III are correct.                                         B) I, II and IV are correct.

         C) I, III and IV are correct.                                       D) II, III and IV are correct.

         A) By selling stolen cattle from the neighbourhoodottery

         B) By selling indulgences to those who committed sins

         C) By pardoning those who stole property or committed other crimes

         D) By assisting the Friar in Church services

         A) Nobility, church and commoners                     B) Royalty, nobility and peasantry

         C) Royalists, republicans and peasants              D) Country, city and commons

         I. Jealousy                 II. Envy             III. Lust         IV. Homicide

         The right combination according to the code is :

         A) I and II                   B) I and III                              C) I and IV                 D) III and IV

         Assertion (A): Chaucer describes ‘Madame Eglentyne’ thus: ‘She was so charitable and so pitous, She woldewepe, if that she sawe a mous caught in atrappe’

         Reason (R): On her ‘broche of gold full shene’ was written Amor Vincit Omnia.

         In the context of the two statements, which one of the following is correct?

         A) Both (A) and (R) are true and (R) is the correct explanation of (A).

         B) Both (A) and (R) are true but(R) is not the correct explanation of (A).

         C) (A) is true but (R) is false.

         D) (A) is false but (R) is true.

         (i) Thomas Hoccleve                                               (ii) Robert Henryson

         (iii) John lydgate                                                      (iv) William Dunbar

         The right combination according to the code is:


         A. (ii) and (iii)            B. (iii) and (iv)       C. (i) and (ii)               D. (ii) and (iv)

         I. Jealousy                 II. Envy               III. Lust       IV. Homicide

         The right combination according to the code is :

         A) I and II                   B) I and III                              C) I and IV                 D) III and IV

         A) Chaucer, the pilgrim, narrates Sir Thopas’ Tale only.

         B) Chaucer, the pilgrim, narrates The Tale of Melibee only.

         C) Chaucer, the pilgrim, narrates both Sir Thopas’ Tale and The Tale of Melibee.

         D) Chaucer, the pilgrim does attempt to narrate an unnamed tale but abruptly stops due to the intervention of the other pilgrims.

         (A) 24 pilgrims and 23 tales              (B) 23 pilgrims and 24 tales

         (C) 22 pilgrims and 24 tales              (D) 24 pilgrims and 22 tales

         A. instead of revealing England’s divisions, it revelled in its diversity.

         B. it alerted us to the term auctor, someone who is both ‘an originator, or one who gives increase’, the best description for Chaucer himself.

         C. it upheld the idea that we cannot divorce poetry from knowledge because poetry itself is an object of knowledge.

         D. it married domesticity to divinity, the baker’s loaf with the bread of life.

         A) the Summoner                                                    B) the Shipman

         C) the Yeoman                                                         D) the Reeve

         (A) “The Monk’s Tale”                         (B) “The Second Nun’s Tale”

         (C) “The Prioress’s Tale”                    (D) “The Shipman’s Tale”

         A) The French Roman de Renart                         B) The Italian Boccaccios Teseide

         C) The English John Gower’s Confessio Amantis

         D) The Germal Goethe’s Faust

         A. Friar                       B. Monk              C. Doctor                      D. Pardoner

         A) rhyme royal          B. terza rima   C. heroic couplets               D. verse libre

         A. the Haberdasher                                                 B. the Tapyser

         C. the Blackmith                                                       D. the Summoner

         A. the Prioress                                                          B. the Nun

         C. the Wife of Bath                                                  D. the Narrator

         A. Spenser’s Fairie Queen                                    

         B. Goldsmith’s ‘The Deserted Village’

         C. Chaucer’s Prologue to Canterbury Tales      

         D. Langland’s Piers Plowman

         A. Pardoner               B. Monk                                 C. Squire                   D. Friar

         A) The French Roman de Renart                         B) The Italian Boccaccios Teseide

         C) The English John Gower’s Confessio Amantis

         D) The Germal Goethe’s Faust

         A. Friar                       B. Monk                                 C. Doctor                   D. Pardoner

         I. the Summoner                                                      II. the Parson

         III. the Ploughman                                                   IV. the Pardoner

         The right combination according to the code is

         A) I and II                   B) II and IV                            C) II and III                 D) I and IV