A lesson for life is taught by every story told by the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales and that is the allegory’s purpose, i.e., providing a lesson for life. A tale that speaks on two different levels is an allegory. The obvious story is delivered by the author first then he/she tries to communicate a theme or subliminal message. Beneath the surface of the original story, this theme or subliminal message can be found. The fables of Aesop were allegorical. The story, “The Tortoise and the Hare” is simply regarding a tortoise and a rabbit and the race between them on the surface. Racing to the finish line, the rabbit flies by while the tortoise takes his time.
It concentrates on the fact that the race is won by steady and slow. The rabbit grabs a nap being confident that the race can never be won by the tortoise, since he is slow in speed. However, when the rabbit wakes up it finds that the race is won by tortoise. The allegorical message in this story for me is ‘never to underestimate your competitor’. The meanings are straightforward in Chaucer’s tales (Chaucer 145). One of the characters from the Canterbury pilgrimage is Chaucer. He conveys a tale that is connected to them in some way. Based on characteristics of each storyteller, foolishness or a valuable concept is highlighted by Chaucer.
Similarly, the wife in “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” has been married 5 times which shows that she is seeking for her 6th husband and she is fond of marriages. The moral righteousness of individuals that marry often is defended by her character. The wife in the story knows that she is not an appealing person; no one will get attracted towards her, as she has an “ample hip”. Moreover, she is deaf and has a “gap-toothed” smile and is not a pretty-looking lady (Piero & Jill Mann 134). The statement that looks and appearance can be misleading at times is reflected by her tale. She defines an Arthurian Knight and a girl who is raped by him.
According to Guinevere in order to save his life, he must seek answer to the question, “What is that one things which every woman wants?”