What Is The Structure Of The Canterbury Tales?

Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written by the late fourteenth-century poet. It is a frame narrative, in which a larger story contains many other stories. The prologue states that the collection was supposed to have 120 tales, with each character narrating four tales – two on the way to the cathedral and two on the way home. However, only 24 tales were completed before Chaucer’s death in 1400. There is much debate about the order of the tales, as the manuscripts of the work suggest several different orders and different scholars have also suggested several structures. The tales are usually divided into ten fragments, and the order within these fragments is usually considered to be correct. But the order of the fragments themselves is often under debate, with fragment IV and V changing in different manuscripts. However, fragment I and II usually follow each other and VI and VII, IX and X can be seen in order in the old manuscripts.


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