0 The Fool
The Canterbury Tales
“The Canterbury Tales” as The Fool:
The role of the Fool in Medieval Europe was that of an entertainer:
a storyteller, a musician, a reporter of news & current events. “The Canterbury Tales” was written in
the 14th century by Geoffrey Chaucer & is considered one of the first major works of literature in the
English language. Chaucer was dedicated to translating classic works & to writing original prose in the
still forming English. Like a Fool, he entertained using storytelling & satire.
“The Canterbury Tales” is a Medieval road trip, a collection of portraits of various people of his day
each telling their life tale as they travel on pilgrimage to Canterbury.
“…Life stirs their hearts & tingles in them so,
Then people long on pilgrimage go,
And palmers to set out for distant strands
And foreign shines renowned in sundry lands.
And specially in England people ride
To Canterbury from every countryside…”
A pilgrimage was a legitimate & safe way to travel & experience adventure – especially for women. Each
of the 22 characters is unique & their stories are equally personal & various in their life experience.
Depicted on the card is a moderate representation of the various caricatures, with the Fool in the
foreground representing the Miller, “In white coat & blue hood this lusty clown, blowing his bagpipes,
brought us out of town.”
The card is a snapshot of a group of travelers with the impression of some travelers before & behind of
who we see in the actual image. The pilgrims show strong forward motion, camaraderie & interest in
the road ahead - willing participants in the collective & individual Fool’s journey.
In the background, is a wood-burned & painted landscape with a town & church on the hillsides
representing where they are coming from, a stop on their journey or their potential destination.
The image is layered for visual interest, but also to symbolize the depth of the characters & the
multi-dimensional meaning of The Fool card. The entire collection of tales can symbolically represent
The Fool card & his journey through the Tarot, as well as each individual character & their unique
life journey. Each traveler has their own reason & expectation for embarking on this pilgrimage, similar
to each reader’s approach to life & consulting the Tarot.
*Note - Medium: Wood, Illustration board, paint, wood burning & collage