Canterbury Tales "General Prologue" Character Map

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Canterbury Tales


The Canterbury Tales - Character Map for "The General Prologue"

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Activity Overview


As students read, a storyboard can serve as a helpful character reference log. This log (also called a character map) allows students to recall relevant information about important characters. When reading a novel, small attributes and details frequently become important as the plot progresses. With character mapping, students will record this information, helping them follow along and catch the subtleties which make reading more enjoyable!

Use a character map to help track the different pilgrims that are discussed in “The General Prologue”. Have the students provide the character’s physical/physiognomic traits, internal character traits, and a quote for support! For the purpose of this sample, we’ve chosen our favorite five. Split your students up and have them focus on just one or a few pilgrims, or have them track all 30!


Canterbury Tales Characters

Physical/Physiognomic Traits Internal Character Traits Quote
The Wife of Bath Aging, deaf in one ear, very finely dressed, has gaps in her teeth She is confident, congenial, and an expert in love and romance “In felaweshipe wel koude she laughe and carpe./ Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce,/ For she koude of that art the olde daunce.”
The Miller Stout, with big muscles, red beard, nostrils full of black hairs, a huge, loud mouth with a tooth missing; carries a sword Dishonest, as he sells his product for three times the price he’s supposed to; uncouth; debaucherous “His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys. He was a janglere and a goliardeys, And that was moost of synne and harlotries. Wel koude he stelen corn and tollen thries; And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee.”
The Prioress Has very good manners; exquisite nose; gray eyes; small, red mouth Dainty and proper; compassionate; modest; good heart “But soore wepte she if oon of hem were deed, Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte; And al was conscience and tendre herte.”
The Cook Has a defect: an open sore oozing from his chin Expert in cooking “But soore wepte she if oon of hem were deed, Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte; And al was conscience and tendre herte.”
The Knight He dresses in a subdued style, he carries himself with dignity and he never has an unkind expression on his face He is humble, a worthy knight, and perhaps the best knight in the world “And everemoore he hadde a soveryn prys. And though that he were worthy, he was wys, And of his port as meeke as is a mayde. He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde In al his lyf unto no maner wight.”

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Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.


  1. Identify the major characters in The Canterbury Tales and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a character to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in the Textables for Physical/Physiognomic Traits, Internal Character Traits, Quote.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.
Character Map 3 Fields Spider

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