Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is his most famous work, consisting of 24 stories primarily written in verse, except for two stories that are written in prose. The stories follow a group of pilgrims traveling from Tabard Inn to Canterbury Cathedral, with most of the characters narrating their tales in iambic pentameter. Chaucer’s poetic style is action-centered and uses rhyming couplets.
The two exceptions to this poetic structure are The Parson’s Tale and The Tale of Melibee, which are written in prose without any metrical composition or poetic structure. The decision to switch from poetry to prose could be to reflect the characters telling the stories. For example, The Parson’s Tale is written in prose because the narrator does not approve of poetry or fiction. Additionally, some scholars suggest that The Parson’s Tale was added later to the Canterbury Tales, which could explain the style difference.
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Overall, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is a significant example of narrative poetry, but the two tales written in prose offer a unique perspective on the characters telling the stories.
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