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Free Study Guide-The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer-Free BookNotes
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LIST OF CHARACTERS (continued)

The Oxford Clerk

A skinny man who is a student at Oxford. He is not at all conscious of his appearance. He is a scholar who is genuinely interested in learning and studies. After the Knight, he is the most admired person

The Sergeant at Law

An accomplished and devious lawyer who has probably used his position to acquire a great deal of wealth.

The Franklin

Said to be Epicureís own son that implies that he lives a hedonistic life in pursuit of pleasure.

The Haberdasher, Dyer, Carpenter, Weaver, And Tapestry Maker

All guildsmen and experts in their professions. They are wearing impressive clothes and carrying handsome silver mounted equipment.

The Cook

Accompanying the guildsmen, the Cook is mainly described in terms of his culinary abilities. However Chaucer does point out that he has an ulcerous sore on his shin.

The Sea captain

A jolly fellow and an able seaman. He could read the stars and was also a good fighter. However Chaucer suggests that he is not completely moral and has no qualms about stealing wine from the Merchant whose casks he is transporting.

The Physician

An excellent doctor who can quickly diagnose the cause of any disease. However Chaucer suggests that this good doctor is motivated by greed more than anything else and has a special fondness for gold.

The Wife of Bath

Described as being somewhat deaf, fat and amorous. She is an excellent weaver and having been married five times knows all the cures for love.

The Parson

A genuinely good clergyman. His self-denial and charity are indeed praiseworthy. He sets a moral standard to his flock of parishioners.


The Plowman

The Parsonís brother and a good Christian ever willing to help his neighbors in trouble. He is an honest and hardworking laborer.

The Miller

A hefty and strong fellow, a loudmouth and a teller of scurrilous stories.

The Manciple

The steward of a law school in London who is responsible for buying food. He is a shrewd man who tricks the lawyers by keeping aside some money for himself whenever he is asked to go and purchase food.

The Reeve

A slender and quick-tempered man. He is such a successful manager of his lordís estate that he has more spending power than his lord does. He knows all the secrets of the employees and blackmails them. He is thus feared by all in the estate.

The Summoner

He has a fiery-red cherubic face, which is an indicator of his lecherous and deceitful character. His gruesome physical appearance fits most appropriately with his profession. The author ironically describes him as a good fellow. He is good as the sinners can easily bribe him.

The Pardoner

A seller of pardons. He dupes innocent poor people by selling them fake relics. Chaucer ironically commends him as an excellent churchman.

The Host

Introduced at the end of the "General Prologue", he proposes the story telling contest in order to make the journey a more enjoyable one.

The Canon's Yeoman

Arrives at the end of the journey along with his master. He is wearing a black cloak and comes panting and gasping for breath after the main group of pilgrims. He proceeds to tell a tale revealing the hypocrisy and deceitfulness of alchemists.

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