The tone of Chaucer’s Prologue to The Canterbury Tales is lighthearted and good-humored. He begins by saying that he is not as well versed as some in the art of storytelling, but he will try his hand at it nonetheless. He then claims that he has been given permission by one of his friends to tell these tales on a journey they are taking together.
Chaucer’s use of irony and sarcasm sets up the reader for an amusing tale about storytelling. In addition, there are several references to contemporary writers who wrote stories about pilgrims on their way to Canterbury Cathedral in England. These references include Dante Alighieri (The Divine Comedy), Boccaccio (Decameron), Geoffrey de la Tour Landry (Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry) and Jean Froissart (Chronicles).
Chaucer also uses a narrator’s voice in this prologue. This is important because it allows him to tell us what he thinks about his tale and its characters before we even get into the story itself. This gives us an idea of how he felt about his work, but also gives us information that we might not have otherwise known if he had not told us himself!
The prologue introduces us to Chaucer’s personality and his outlook on life. He seems like an ordinary man who enjoys good company, good food and wine, and fine clothing. He also has a sense of humor, which is apparent when he describes how he will tell his own tale: “I shall tell no tales but mine own true ones.”