from The Prologue
Reading Discussion Questions need to be completed as well as the comprehension questions.
- 1. When do people “long to go on pilgrimages”?
- 2. Where is the narrator at the very beginning of the Prologue? Who joins him, and for what purpose?
- 3. Place each pilgrim within one of these three groups that comprised medieval society: the feudal system (related to the land), the Church, and the city (merchants and professionals).
- 4. What plan (which becomes the basis of the frame story) does the Host propose to the pilgrims? How do the pilgrims respond to his proposal?
- 5. Chaucer is a master at using physical details – eyes, hair, complexion, body type, clothing – to reveal character. Describe at least three pilgrims whose inner natures are revealed by their appearance. Refer to your reading notes for help.
- 6. Clearly Chaucer satirizes the Church of his time. Show how this is true by analyzing two characters connected with the Church. What “good,” or honorable, Church people does Chaucer include to balance his satire?
- 7. What aspects of medieval society does Chaucer satirize in his portrayals of the Merchant? of the Franklin? of the Doctor? of the Miller?
- 8. Which pilgrims do you think Chaucer idealizes?
- 10. Which of the pilgrims’ professions or trades have survived and exist in society today? Which of Chaucer’s character types can be seen today in airports, on pulpits, on farms, in classrooms, on city streets, or in small towns?