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Barron's Booknotes-The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer-Free Book Notes
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Here is a short glossary of the names that appear in the tales examined in this book.

ABSALOM - The prissy, proper clerk in the Miller's Tale who is after Alison but can't get her.

ALISON - The wife of John the carpenter in the Miller's Tale, who is young and flirtatious and decides to sleep with Nicholas behind her husband's back.

ARCITE - One of the two knight "heroes" in the Knight's Tale, who gets released from prison and returns for the love of Emelye.

BOETHIUS - An early Christian philosopher who wrote The Consolation of Philosophy, which Chaucer translated, about the divine order that exists behind the swings of fortune.

CHANTICLEER - The self-assured rooster hero of the Nun's Priest's Tale. He doesn't listen to his dreams and so gets carried away by a fox.

EMELYE - The object of desire in the Knight's Tale; Duke Theseus's sister-in-law.

FORTUNE - Often personified as a fickle goddess, especially by Boethius, she raises people up or throws them down.

JOHN - The cuckolded carpenter in the Miller's Tale. He believes in God and in the astrology dupe that Nicholas pulls on him. (Also the name of the Nun's Priest.)

MARS - God of war in the Knight's Tale, but also used to represent the planet Mars and its astrological influences. Arcite prays to Mars for victory.

NICHOLAS - The "hende" (pleasant and sly) clerk of the Miller's Tale who concocts a scheme for John so that he can sleep with Alison.

PALAMON - The other young knight of the Knight's Tale, vying with his cousin Arcite for Emelye's love. He prays to Venus for victory.

PEROTHEUS - An old friend of Arcite's and Theseus' in the Knight's Tale, who intercedes to get Arcite sprung from prison.

PERTELOTE - Chanticleer's lady love who doesn't believe in the psychic power of dreams.

SATURN - The god and planet of doom and chaos in the Knight's Tale (and elsewhere in Chaucer). He arranges that Venus' knight, Palamon, shall win Emelye.

THEBES - The ancient city where Arcite and Palamon are from. Theseus of Athens conquers Thebes by defeating the tyrant Creon.

THESEUS - Duke of Athens, conqueror of Thebes, he is the ruler who imprisons Arcite and Palamon, and later releases Arcite on Perotheus' request.

VENUS - The goddess of love. Her "day" is Friday, when the tournament takes place in the Knight's Tale, and when Chanticleer gets caught in the Nun's Priest's Tale. Both Palamon and Chanticleer are described as servants of Venus.

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Barron's Booknotes-The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer-Free Book Notes

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