Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story Prologue to the Tale of Melibee

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Prologue to the Tale of Melibee

  • The Host interrupts Chaucer's tale, saying he's weary of Chaucer's horrible rhymes and worthless speech.
  • Chaucer asks why the Host won't let him tell his tale along with the other pilgrims.
  • The Host replies that it's because Chaucer's rhyming is worthless and a waste of time, and asks him to tell a tale in prose instead of verse.
  • Chaucer replies that he will gladly tell a virtuous tale of morality in prose.
  • Chaucer asks the company to give him the benefit of the doubt if he does not tell the tale exactly as they have heard it. He uses the example of the four evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – to show how authors often differ in their telling of a story although their meaning is the same. He asks the company not to interrupt his tale.

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