The Canterbury Tales is Chaucer's most famous poetic work. He did not compose the poem in a short period of time, but seems to have designed it around 1387. Until his death he worked on the tales leaving them in a fragmentary state.

In the General Prologue thirty-two pilgrims meet at Southwark to take up their way to Canterbury. They agree to tell two stories each on their way to and back from Canterbury. Only twenty-three of them, however, tell a tale. Although many tales are linked by verbal exchanges between the pilgrims, the exact order is not very certain. Most modern editions follow the arrangement of the Ellesmere Manuscript which offers twenty-three miniatures of the pilgrims.

The General Prologue

The Clerk' Tale

The Tale of Melibee

The Knight's Tale

The Merchant's Tale

The Monk's Tale

The Miller's Tale

The Squire's Tale

The Nun's Priest's Tale

The Reeve's Tale

The Franklin's Tale

The Second Nun's Tale

The Cook's Tale

The Physician's Tale

The Canon's Yeoman's Tale

The Man of Law's Tale

The Pardoner's Tale

The Manciple's Tale

The Wife of Bath's Tale

The Shipman's Tale

The Parson's Tale

The Friar's Tale

The Prioress's Tale

Chaucer's Retractions

The Summoner's Tale

The Tale of Sir Thopas


Click here to see who tells which story in The Canterbury Tales.

The Tales