Seven of Chaucer's tales--those of the Friar, the Cook, the Merchant, the Miller, the Wife of Bath, the Reeve, and the Summoner--are brought to the screen with sex, brutality, and scatology foregrounded. Seventh Tale Rufus, one of a group of four young men is killed by a thief, spurning the others to seek out for themselves. Chaucer foresees all the victories and triumphs of the bourgeoisie, but he also forsees its rotten-ness. In order to deceive the carpenter, Nicholas convinces him that a massive flood is about to occur, and claims that he, the carpenter, and Allison should all three wait in buckets tied to the ceiling rafters to escape drowning. One is able to bribe his way out of trouble, but the other, poorer man is less fortunate: he is tried and convicted of —it does not occur to the judge that such an act cannot be committed by one person alone—and is sentenced to death.
The carpenter then cuts the rope holding his bucket in the air, and violently falls to the ground. The summoner then explains that he must collect money from a miserly old woman. Simkin the miller tricks the youths by freeing their horse and switching their flour for bran while they chase after it. The summoner refuses, and the devil proceeds to take him to hell. The old woman accuses him of lying, and curses him to be taken away by the devil if he does not repent. When they meet the old woman, the summoner levies false charges against the old woman and tells her that she must appear before the ecclesiastical court, but says that if she pays him a bribe in the amount she owes, she will be excused.
When the friar reaches down to retrieve the item, the bedridden man farts into his hands. Each episode does not take the form of a story told by different pilgrim, as is the case in Chaucer's stories, but simply appear in sequence, seemingly without regard for the way that the tales relate to one another in the original text. The wife quickly decides to marry a young student, literally running from her late husband's funeral in one wing of a cathedral to her wedding in another wing. The first student finishes having sex with Molly, and she confesses that she and father have stolen his flour. When they return with the horse, it is late in the evening, and the students ask to stay the night. The parishioner then offers him his most valuable possession, provided he promises to distribute it equally among all the friars.
The tales, some of which are originals and others not, are contained inside a frame tale and told by a group of pilgrims on their way from Southwark to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. During his execution, the vendor walks through the crowd selling griddle cakes. This episode is derived from the prologue to the Wife of Bath's Tale rather than the tale itself. Seven of Chaucer's tales--those of the Friar, the Cook, the Merchant, the Miller, the Wife of Bath, the Reeve, and the Summoner--are brought to the screen with sex, brutality,. He is soon discovered and fired. The youths then encounter an old man, who they accuse of conspiring with Death in order to kill the young, and demand at knifepoint that they tell him where Death is located. When he leans over to comfort her, however, she bites his nose.
Fifth Tale In , a middle-aged woman's fourth husband falls ill during sex and dies soon after. After they are married, the merchant suddenly becomes blind, and insists on constantly holding on to his wife' wrist as consolation for the fact that he cannot see her. Her husband pushes her away, and she falls onto her back and moans on the floor. Before she returns, the other student moves the crib to the foot of his own pallet, tricking the miller's wife into sleeping with him instead of the miller. Fourth Tale Nicholas, a young student, seduces Alison, the wife of a carpenter. The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century two of them in prose, the rest in verse. Taking advantage of her husband's blindness, she meets with her lover inside of the tree, but is thwarted when the god Pluto, who has been watching over the couple in the garden, suddenly restores January's sight.
Sixth Tale In Cambridge, two students Alan and John bring a sack of grain to a mill to be milled into flour. Allison answers him by inviting him to climb up to her window and then farting in his face. The genres also vary, and include romance, Breton lai, sermon, beast fable, and fabliau. Afterwards, the vendor meets a , and after the two vow to be friends, the vendor reveals himself to be the. The characters, introduced in the General Prologue of the book, tell tales of great cultural relevance.
The parishioner claims that this possession is located beneath his buttocks. First Tale The elderly merchant Sir January decides to marry May, a young woman who has little interest in him. While two of the youths wait by the treasure, a third Dick the Sparrow leaves for town, returning later with three casks of wine, two of which he has poisoned. Nicholas then cries out for water, leading the carpenter to believe that the flood has arrived. That night, an angel visits the friar and brings him to hell, where expels hundreds of corrupt friars from his rectum.
The wife of Bath demands that he not tell her about her own business, and destroys the book. Two police officers who Perkin evaded earlier discover him there, and Perkin is arrested and put in the. The themes of the tales vary, and include topics such as courtly love, treachery, and avarice. The miller agrees to let them stay, and the two share a pallet bed next to one shared by the miller and his wife. Two men are caught in an inn bedroom having sex. Second Tale A vendor witnesses two different men committing sodomy, both of whom are caught in the act.
While the carpenter waits in his bucket, Nicholas and Allison sneak away to have sex. Many of these scenes are present or at least alluded to in the original as well, but some are Pasolini's own additions. Perkin accompanies one of the men home, where he shares a bed with the man and his wife, who is a prostitute. Eighth Tale In the final tale, a gluttonous friar tries to extract as many donations as possible from a bedridden parishioner. The film sometimes diverges from Chaucer. January briefly sees May and her lover together, but she convinces him that he has hallucinated.
As always, Pasolini provides a political subtext: 14th-century England is depicted as a period of social turmoil in which individual freedom particularly of the sexual variety had yet to be wholly squelched or perverted by the rise of the mercantile middle class. This film featured , before he became the famed from , in a small role as one of the husbands of the. Absolon runs to a blacksmith's shop where he borrows a hot poker, then returns to the carpenter's house and asks for another kiss. On this occasion, Nicholas goes to the window instead of Alison, and has his buttocks scalded. When he reaches the tree, the two youths drink the poisoned wine and stab their companion, then succumb to the poison.