Worksheets for The Canterbury Tales


 The Prologue

1.  In what month will the pilgrimage take place? ___________________

2.  The narrator encounters the pilgrims at the _________________ Inn in the city of _________________.

3.  How many pilgrims are in the party? _____________

4.  What kinds of things does the narrator intend to convey to the reader about each pilgrim? ____________


The Knight

5. What four traits does he have? ____________________________________________________________

6.  In how many “fatal” battles has he fought? ___________

7.  Why is the knight “not gaily dressed?” _____________________________________________________

8.  Why is he going to the shrine of St. Thomas? ________________________________________________

The Squire

9.  He is the knight’s __________ and _________ years old.

10. In what regard is he very different from the knight? ______________________________________________

11. Name some of his non-military talents. _________________________________________________________

12. Show how he is respectful to the knight. ________________________________________________________

The Yeoman

13.  You know he’s a yeoman because he wears ____________________________________________________.

14. What business does he know very well? _______________________________________________________

15. What is the significance of the St. Christopher medal? ____________________________________________

The Prioress, Madame _____________________________

16. What is her job? _______________________________________________________________________

17. French was an elegant language.  Why does the narrator look down on the Prioress’s French? ______________


18. What does she do very neatly? ________________________________________________________________

19. She has a tender heart and sympathies for _________________ but apparently not for __________________!

20. Why is it important that she is not “undergrown?” _________________________________________________

21. According to her brooch, her motto is “ ____________________________________________.”

The Monk

22. He likes the sport of _________________________.

23.  Although he is a monk, he does not think he has to spend all his time in a _________________.

24.  How odd: the monk has a pin shaped like a _______________________________!

25.  What characteristic does he share with the prioress? _______________________________________

The Friar, ______________________

26.  What does a limiter do? ________________________________________________________________

27.  What were the four orders of friars? ______________________________________________________

28.  It seems in doubt whether he is qualified to ____________________________________.

29.  If you give this friar a gift, he is likely to give you ___________________________________________.

30. He gives gifts such as ___________ and _________________ to _________________________.

31.  What musical talents does he have? ________________________________________________________

32. He knew all the ____________________, ________________________, and ______________________!

33.  What is his reason for not ministering to the “slum-and-gutter dwellers?” ___________________________


34.  What physical defect does he pretend? _____________ Why? ___________________________________

The Merchant

35.  He seems to be a prosperous businessman, so one would be surprised to discover _________________________.

The Oxford Cleric  (student)

36.  How can one tell he has little money? _____________________________________________________________

37.  What does he do with the money he gets? __________________________________________________________

38.  What fills his speech? __________________________________________________

The Serjeant at the Law (lawyer)

39.  A successful lawyer, he has earned _________________ and _______________.

40.  He is very skilled at drafting which document? ________________________

41.  He knew every “judgment, case, and crime” since the time of King William which would span _______ years.

The Franklin ( well-to-do _______________________ but not of _____________________)

42.  He lived for ____________________ and _______________________ delight.

43.  For what is he famous in his town? _____________________________________________________________

The Haberdasher ( ___________________________________), Dyer, Carpenter, Weaver, and Carpet-Maker

44.  These men together represent a ______________ or _________________ common in the Middle Ages.

45.  Each of these men is affluent, involved in his community, married to an ambitious women and wants to improve his social status.  In the 1990’s, they would be called ________________________!

The Cook

46.  Yuck!  The cook prepares savory dishes, but has an ____________________________________________!

The Skipper (sailor)

47.  Because he spends his life on the water, he has trouble __________________________________________.

48.  What did he enjoy while in Bordeaux? _____________________________________

49.  Being the nice guy he is, what did he do to enemy sailors? __________________________________________

50.  He is an expert at __________________________________________________________________________.

The Doctor

51.  Many doctors in the Middle Ages were also trained in _______________________________________.

52.  Interesting. . .if you were hot and wet, you had too much ________________.  If you were hot and dry, you had too much ________________.  If you were cold and wet, you had too much ______________, and if you were cold and dry, you had too much ______________.

53.  It’s obvious the doctor was in cahoots with the _____________________________.  How did the scam work?

54.  Maybe the doctor should spend more time reading _______________________.


55.  What does it mean that he “kept the gold he won in pestilence?” _______________________________________


The Wife of Bath

56.  Her physical defect? _____________________________________

57.  What made her angry? _______________________________________________________________________

58.  She had _____ husbands and traveled to Jerusalem _____ times.  This lady has money!

59.  What do you think “large hips” signify on a woman? ________________________________________________

60.  Married as often as she was, she knew how to cure _______________________________________________.

The Parson

61.  He is the only one of the pilgrims who truly knew ____________________________________.

62. In the saying “If gold rust, what then will iron do?”, the gold represents _________________ and the iron represents _________________________.  Translation: _________________________________________________

63.  What was his business? ________________________________________________________________________

The Plowman

64.  He is the Parson’s ______________________ and performs the job of a ________________________________.

65.  He lived in ___________________ and perfect _______________________.

66.  List the characteristics that mark him a humble man. _________________________________________________


The Miller

67.  Weighing in a _____________, he could easily knock a door of its hinges, sometimes using his ____________.

  1. His beard is ______ and shaped like a ___________; he has a ______ on the tip of his nose with ________, bristly hair growing out of it; his nostrils were ________ and ___________; his mouth was shaped like a ___________________. . .this guy is so obviously a _____________ figure and not to be trusted!

69.  What kind of stories does he tell? _______________________________________________________

70.  What musical instrument does he play? __________________________________________________

71.  How does he cheat his customers? ________________________________________________________

The Manciple (__________________________________________________________________________)

72.  An uneducated fellow, he’s smart enough to cheat the company of thirty ____________ he works for!

The Reeve (_________________________________________________________________________)

73.  He is “choleric,” meaning _______________________________.

74.  His success depends on his ability to read _______________________________.

75.  Never caught cheating in any way, he has saved enough money for a ___________________________________.

76.  As a young man, he learned how to be a __________________________________.

77.  In the parade of pilgrims, he is found where? ______________ Why do you think he rides there? ____________

The Summoner

78.  It was his job to summon people to appear where? __________________________________________

79.  Yuck!  He has carbuncles all over his face, and his eyebrows are _____________________.  What are carbuncles?

80.  He likes to eat _____________, _______________, and ______________ and drinks ___________________.

81.  When drunk, he speaks _____________________.

82.  If he catches you committing adultery, what will he do? _____________________________________________

83.  What does he wear on his head? ________________________

The Pardoner

84.  He is traveling with ____________________________.

85.  They are both minor church officials who are singing a _______________________________!

86.  His hair hangs down his back like ____________________________.

87.  His eyes ______________ like a ___________________.

88.  How do you interpret the information that he cannot grow a beard? ___________________________________

89.  He has a piece of cloth that he claims is _______________________________________________________.

90.  He can make more in a _______ than the honest parson can in ___________________________.

91.  He makes quite a haul in churches, too, thanks to his ____________________________________________.


92.  The narrator warns the reader that the stories are told in what way? __________________________________.

That should not offend anyone because even Jesus Christ __________________________________________, and Plato advised that “The word _____________________________________________________________________.”

93.  The narrator says if he messes anything up, well, he’s not ___________________________________.

94.  Who proposes the idea of a story-telling contest? _____________________________________

95.  The story that gives the “fullest measure of _____________________________________________________” will win for its teller _____________________________________________________________.

96.  Who will tell the first tale? ______________________________________________________