The Canterbury Tales

Summary

Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

1) Why are the characters in The Canterbury Tales going on a pilgrimage to Canterbury?

Chaucer as narrator offers a few reasons for the journey to the Canterbury Cathedral, including that at least some of the pilgrims attribute a recent healing to Saint Thomas Becket’s miraculous intervention. However, Chaucer also wryly notes that the pilgrims opt to go to Canterbury in April, when people “long to go on pilgrimages.” In other words, the good weather more than any particular spiritual conviction motivates the pilgrimage, implying a potential lack of depth in the characters’ spiritual commitment.