The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story
by Geoffrey Chaucer
Symbol: Clothing and Hairstyles
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
The portraits of the pilgrims use their clothing as a symbol of the personality traits of the wearer. The Wife of Bath's red stockings probably symbolize her lustful nature, and her large hat represents her love of fashion and luxury. Some characters, like the Merchant or the Pardoner, reveal their concern with the latest fashions in the way they dress and style their hair. Most often, pilgrims' clothing symbolizes their possession or lack of money in how fancy or simple it is.