Tacit Theatre | A Brief History Lesson…
The Canterbury Tales, Tacit Theatre, Harry Bailey, Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales, Tacit Theatre, Harry Bailey, Chaucer
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A Brief History Lesson…

Category: canterbury-tales

About

Geoffrey Chaucer was born into a family of vintners, probably 
somewhere near Ipswich, probably in 1343. In his 57ish years he lived 
as a page, courtier, diplomat, bureaucrat, member of parliament and,
most notably, one of the foremost philosopher poets of his day; a busy 
man.

Of all his works, it is his unfinished book, ‘The Canterbury Tales’, started in 1380, for which he is best remembered. The Canterbury Tales  
is essentially a collection of short stories, both traditional and
 original, set within a ‘frame’ story of a group of pilgrims on their
 way to Canterbury and the shrine of Thomas à Becket (“who will rid me 
of this turbulent priest?”) During the Middle ages pilgrimages were 
both an important part of a Christian’s religious observance and, for
 much of the population, the only time they were allowed a holiday.
 In Chaucer’s day the working classes were largely bound to the land
 where they lived and would need the permission of their lord to 
venture outside of their shire. The average Englishman could live and 
die without every journeying more than a few days from their home.

Pilgrimages were the exception. People of all classes would come 
together from the four corners of the country to form travelling
bands, (safety in numbers as bandits would often attack pilgrims to
rob them of the alms and other offerings they carried). For most,
these journeys were once in a lifetime adventures and, as we see in
 the tales, social laws regarding status were relaxed or even ignored
 as Knight rode with Miller, Yeoman with Nun and yet were pilgrims all.