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The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story

The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Yeoman

Character Analysis

The Knight travels with only one servant, or yeoman, and one who looks like Robin Hood. Seriously, this guy is dressed all in green and decked out with a bow and arrows, a dagger, and a sword. His hair is short, and his face is brown, suggesting that he spends a lot of time outside. Chaucer tells us he's a forester – at home he probably takes care of the forests on the Knight's land, protecting them from outlaws and making sure nobody poaches in them. As foresters go, he's probably a good one, a conclusion we can draw because he keeps his bow and arrows in very good condition – no droopy feathers for him – so it's likely he keeps his forest in similarly tip-top shape.

We never see the Yeoman again after the General Prologue, but, from him, we learn two things about the Knight: 1) that he's not high-maintenance, because he travels with only one servant, and 2) that he owns some land – hence, his need for a forester.