Humour is used in The Canterbury Tales and Gulliver’s Travels for the purpose of both entertainment and satire. In addition, the humour of both texts is often directed at human bodily functions and sexuality in a way that all humans can identify with, even centuries after the texts were composed. Chaucer’s humour in The Canterbury Tales often has a satirical undertone, but generally seems lighter than Swift’s, which often reveals quite dark undertones beneath the surface.
The concept of the journey is a central thematic element in both The Odyssey and The Canterbury Tales. The overall narrative arc of both texts are bound together by journeys, but with quite different effects. In the case of The Odyssey, the plot is preoccupied with the epic struggles of Odysseus in attempting to return home following the Trojan war, and is also concerned with the journey of Telemachus to find his father and reach maturity. The Canterbury Tales consists of a series of seemingly unrelated stories, but these are tied together with a unifying narrative that brings each of the narrators together in their common journey of pilgrimage.