by Geoffrey Chaucer
• The Canterbury Tales is written in Middle English, which bears a close visual resemblance to the English written and spoken today.
• These pilgrims include a Knight, his son the Squire, the Knight's Yeoman, a Prioress, a Second Nun, a Monk, a Friar, a Merchant, a Clerk, a Man of Law, a Franklin, a Weaver, a Dyer, a Carpenter, a Tapestry-Maker, a Haberdasher, a Cook, a Shipman, a Physician, a Parson (a priest), a Miller, a Reeve (a minor local official), a Summoner, a Pardoner, the Wife of Bath, and Chaucer himself.
• In the Middle Ages, church representatives called pardoners were licensed by the pope to distribute indulgences in his name.
• According to medieval theology, these indulgences were gifts of divine mercy to people who had truly repented of their sins. By such an indulgence, people received pardon of release from the pain of punishment for their sins. They could in turn make voluntary contribution to a church charity.
• By Chaucer’s time, many pardoners were taking advantage of this system for their own profit. Many offered indulgences in exchange for money – claiming that the more generously one gave, the more clearly one showed true repentance.