Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Trip to the Tales

Canterbury is full of history and there are plenty of places in the city where you can learn more about it.One of these places is The Canterbury Tales, a visitor attraction based around the famous stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer.  

Widely referred to as the Father of English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer is considered to be the greatest English poet of the Middle AgesWhile he achieved fame during his lifetime as an author, philosopher, alchemist and astronomer, Chaucer also maintained an active career in the civil service as a bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Among his many works, he is best known today for The Canterbury Tales.

Over the centuries thousands have ventured on a pilgrimage to Canterbury and this is brought to life as your pilgrimage from London to our famous Cathedral City places you in the midst of a story-telling contest as five of Chaucer's most entertaining tales of love, romance, jealousy and trickery are brought vividly to life.

Your adventure will begin as mine did at the Tabard Inn where I met the first of the costumed guides who will prepare you for your pilgrimage. The first story on your journey is The Knights Tale. A chivalrous tale of two knights who fall in love with a fair lady. The two men begin to duel, but who will win her heart?

As you move on with your journey you will be told The Millers Tale, a story of a carpenter called John and his wife Alisoun and two clerks called Nicholas and Absolon. The two clerks fall in love with Alisoun and both try to win her affections and her bed. Each of them hatch a plan to try and get their wicked way... but will they get their just desserts instead?

Continuing on foot through this merry band of pilgrims you will hear of The Nun's Priest's Tale, a farmyard fable. A handsome cock called Chanticleer dreams of his death by a cunning old fox. He confides his fears with his favorite hen wife who tells him it is caused by indigestion and not to pay attention to silly dreams. His dreams however seem to have some truth to them. Will the cock outwit the cunning old fox or will he become his next meal?

My favorite tale and I think you will enjoy this one also is The Wife of Bath's Tale. A Knight in King Arthur's time raped a young maiden. He is captured and sentenced to death, however Queen Guinevere steps in and asks the King to allow her to pass judgement upon him. The Queen sets the Knight a task to discover what it is that women most desire. After a year of searching, the Knight who has struggled to find an answer that will please the Queen sees an old hag who promises to to give him the correct answer if he promises to grant her any favor she might ask of him in return.... Can she save his life, and if so, what will the old hag request as payment for it?

The final story on your journey is that of The Pardeners Tale set in Flanders. Rioters hear a bell to signal the burial of a friend who has been killed by a thief known as Death. The men set out to avenge him and kill Death. An old man they meet on their way tells them they can find Death at the foot of an oak tree. When they get there they find a large amount of gold coin but will their greed cause their downfall?

These five stories culminate with a second guide at the shrine of St Thomas Becket, who tells the true story of  the Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered in 1170 by command of the King.

I would highly recommend you visit The Canterbury Tales and hear the stories in all their splendor, this really is a great way to spend a couple of hours learning and living the stories and lives of days gone by.



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