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About The Canterbury Tales:|
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories in a frame story, between 1387 and 1400. It is the story of a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England). The pilgrims, who come from all layers of society, tell stories to each other to kill time while they travel to Canterbury. He never finished his enormous project and even the completed tales were not finally revised. Scholars are uncertain about the order of the tales. As the printing press had yet to be invented when Chaucer wrote his works, The Canterbury Tales has been passed down in several handwritten manuscripts.
About The Cook's Prologue and Tale:
The story introduces an apprentice nicknamed Perkin Reveller (line 47). Perkin is a seller of food (victualler, line 42) who loves the tavern more than his shop (line 52). Perkin likes to dance, sing and gamble (line 62). Perkin is also a thief. One day Perkin's master decides to get rid of Perkin and sends him away (line 87-88). Perkin takes up residence with a companion that equally likes to play dice, drink and dance (lines 95-96). The companion has a wife that has a shop, but she really gains her income from prostitution (line 97-98). At this point The Cook's Tale ends abruptly.
Chaucer has never finished The Cook's Tale. Was The Cook's Tale deliberately left unfinished? Did Chaucer intended to return to it? Or was The Cook's Tale finished and has the manuscript been lost? Scholars have endlessly debated about the most likely one of these three options, but there is no definite conclusion. We will never know for certain.
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