What is THE FRAME STORY?
The frame story is a literary device that joins together one or more stories within a larger story, or frame. Frame stories have been used throughout the world and date back to antiquity. The Panchatantra, a collection of Sanskrit fables gathered around 200 b.c., is an ancient Indian example of a frame story. Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron is a well-known Italian frame story in which a collection of stories are told by different characters. The Canterbury Tales is one of the most famous examples of the frame story. In his innovative use of the device, Chaucer interwove the frame with the tales. The plot of the frame involves pilgrims on a pilgrimage who are challenged to compete in telling the best tale. Chaucer reveals the pilgrims’ personalities not only through their interactions between tales but also by the tales they tell. As a result, the frame itself acts as a long and engaging narrative whole.