Canterbury Tales - General Prologue - Character Descriptions

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character descriptions of everyone from the prologue

knight

well-traveled; many battles fought; worthy, illustrious, wise, yet humble.

squire

knight's son; lover/bachelor (about 20); been in a few battles

yeoman

archer; skilled woodsman; St. Christopher on his breast

prioress

nasal singing voice; learned French at an English school; very dainty; tried to look courtly; charitable and piteous; huge forehead; "amor vincit omnia"

monk

"manly man;" had many horses; doesn't accept the old rules of his profession; fat

friar

mendicant; well known by the wealthy; forgives sins for a price; good at getting money out of people

merchant

pompous; well-dressed; rich; Chaucer doesn't remember his name

clerk

Oxford-educated; skinny; lots of philosophy books; not a lot of money

lawyer

rich; very busy; extensive knowledge of cases and judgments; quotes laws verbatim

franklin

partakes in fine food and drink; lots of food description; epicurean in nature

cook

good at cooking food; very ill from a sore on shin

sailor

hardy, wise; traveled across the sea to many places; vessel named Madeleine

physician

well read in medical texts but not the Bible; adept at medicine; loved gold more than anything

wife of bath

clothmaker; 5 husbands; been to Jerusalem and Rome among other places; gap-toothed and large

parson

learned religious man; pastor in the country; kind, generous, good community member; a favorable portraid of a church member

plowman

toiled hard; loved God above all; worked with others

miller

"stout churl" ; chunky; wrestler; red beard; big mouth; steals corn

manciple

in charge of purchase/storage of food; surprisingly smart

reeve

close-shaven; rides in the back; high-ranking peasant; carpenter

summoner

children fear his face; lecherous; smelled bad; drank and ran his mouth; liar; takes people's money

pardoner

yellow hair; goat's voice; "gelding or mare" (homosexual/eunuch?); carries relics; good at preaching

guildsmen

new, well-adorned gear; skilled at their trades

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