Geoffrey Chaucer, The Tale of Melibee

Candace Barrington (Central Connecticut State University)
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Geoffrey Chaucer’s

The Tale of Melibee

, one of twenty-four stories recounted by traveling pilgrims in

The Canterbury Tales

, stands out from its companions in two ways: it is one of two tales in prose (rather than verse), and it is one of two tales told in the voice of pilgrim-Chaucer as his own contribution to the tale-telling contest. This protracted, but complete, tale appears directly after the ostentatiously unfinished

Tale of Sir Thopas

(also told by Chaucer’s pilgrim persona but interrupted by the Host, Harry Bailey), and it is followed by

The Monk’s Tale

. In addition,

The Tale of Melibee

is bookended by two exchanges between the Host and the Chaucer’s pilgrim persona. Unlike many of Chaucer’s well-known tales,

The Tale of Melibee

is not bawdy, comic, or sardonic. Instead…

1790 words

Citation: Barrington, Candace. "The Tale of Melibee". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 March 2021 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=39365, accessed 28 May 2024.]

39365 The Tale of Melibee 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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