What Is The Frame Narrative of The Canterbury Tales?

Updated: February 02, 2023
The frame narrative of The Canterbury Tales is set up as a story within a story. The narrator, Chaucer, is on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral with a group of other pilgrims. As they travel, they take turns telling stories to pass the time.
Detailed answer:

The Canterbury Tales was written during the late medieval period in England (1342-1400). This was an era when Western Europe was experiencing great changes in politics, religion, economic systems and social order due to the Black Death pandemic that struck Europe in 1348-50. The plague killed nearly half of Europe’s population (an estimated 25 million people), but it also created new opportunities for those who survived it by creating labor shortages in many industries and professions.

The Canterbury Tales narrates the stories told by a group of pilgrims as they travel from London to Canterbury Cathedral. The narrator, Chaucer, invites each pilgrim to tell two stories on their journey. The pilgrims are supposed to be men and women from different walks of life; however, it seems that everyone has more or less the same personality traits as Chaucer himself (smart, funny, charming).

The frame narrative of The Canterbury Tales is set up as a story within a story. The narrator, Chaucer, is on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral with a group of other pilgrims. As they travel, they take turns telling stories to pass the time.

The general plot of each tale is similar: A character tells another character about a third person (usually someone they know) who has some problem that needs solving or task that needs completing. The first two characters then decide that their friend must perform this task or solve this problem in order for them to get along with each other again. This leads to the third character’s tale being told, which usually ends happily with the problem being solved and everyone getting along again (although sometimes there are tragic endings).

What Is The Frame Narrative of The Canterbury Tales?. (2023, Feb 13). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/qa/what-is-the-frame-narrative-of-the-canterbury-tales/