What the pilgrims wear is often a very important sign of their characters. Outward appearance indicates who one is in medieval society. The Knight’s armor is stained from battle, indicating that he not only talks the talk, he walks the walk. The Prioress wears fussy, heavily ornamented clothes, showing that she is more preoccupied with her earthly appearance than her devotion to God. Similarly, the Friar is supposed to be a poor beggar, yet he wears rich clothes. The red clothing that the Wife of Bath wears signifies her lusty nature. An overemphasis on clothes and physical appearance usually indicates the hypocritical nature of that vain pilgrim.
Clothing and Appearance Quotes in The Canterbury Tales
The The Canterbury Tales quotes below all refer to the symbol of Clothing and Appearance. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:).
The General Prologue Quotes
Clothing and Appearance Symbol Timeline in The Canterbury Tales
The timeline below shows where the symbol Clothing and Appearance appears in The Canterbury Tales. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The General Prologue
...little about the Bible. The Physician practices moderation in his diet. Though he wears taffeta robes, he saved much of what he earned: gold is the best medicine, the narrator says,... (full context)
...other foreign pilgrimage sites. She is gap-toothed; sits easily on her horse; and wears a wimple, an overskirt over her broad hips, and sharp spurs. The Wife of Bath gives excellent... (full context)
The Knight’s Tale
...and Palamon. Though both are badly wounded, they are not quite dead yet. By their coat of arms , the scavengers can tell that they are of royal Theban blood. Theseus proclaims that... (full context)
The Wife of Bath’s Prologue
The Tale of Sir Thopas