The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
Nowher so bisy a man ther nas;
And yet he semed bisier than he was.
(General Prologue 321 – 322)
There's an awful lot of "seeming" going on in the Man of Law's portrait, which makes us think that, despite the generally neutral tone of it, there might be something going on underneath the surface here.
Wel coude he stelen corn, and tollen thryes.
(General Prologue 562)
The Miller cheats his customers by replacing part of the flour they've purchased with worthless filler, or by charging them three times the going price for wheat. This former method of cheating customers foreshadows the one that occurs in the Reeve's tale.
His lord wel coude he plesen subtilly,
To yeve and lene him of his owne good,
And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
(General Prologue 610 – 612)
The Reeve uses trickery to gain not only money, but gratitude. This last makes the Reeve's action particularly heinous because it's not only that he's stealing from his Lord; he's also making him look like an idiot.