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The Canterbury Tales Essay

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Through The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer is able to ironically portray the life friars lived throughout the 14th century. Geoffrey Chaucer was born around 1345 and lived in London. (Strohm par 1). He grew up being trained as a civil servant and diplomat. Around 1366 Chaucer married Queen Philippa of Spain (Encyclopedia of World Biography 483). Through being appointed to Parliament, he traveled to many different countries on diplomatic missions and was influenced by the contrasting types of writing (Strohm par 3). These experiences helped Chaucer to gain knowledge about diverse types of people and English writing, which influenced the way he wrote The Canterbury Tales (par 1). When Chaucer wrote, he often mocked and satirized people he saw on their fashion and etiquette, which had a large part in the way he wrote about certain pilgrims in his novel (par 2). Between the years of 1387 and 1400, Chaucer devoted most of his time to writing one of his most famous pieces, The Canterbury Tales. This tale is about thirty pilgrims on a journey to the Shrine of Thomas Beckett at Canterbury (par 7). Each pilgrim is expected to tell four stories; two story for the journey to the shrine and another two for the journey back home. The host is the pilgrim that decides upon the best told story. Whoever relates the best tale receives a meal at Bailey’s Inn. Unfortunately, Chaucer died around 1400 before being able to complete each of the pilgrims’ stories (Strohm par 3). In the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer introduces the Friar as someone who, although is meant to live by God’s deeds and the church, is controlled by his own greed. The tale which the Friar later narrates is appropriate because throughout the story it is evident that...


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...that they are both lecherous. This is exemplified through the summoner in the Friar’s prologue. In “The Friar’s Tale,” the Friar states:
He was a thief, a summoner, and a pimp.
And he had wenches in his retinue, / . . . /
He and these wenches made a gang at it
Then he would fetch forth a fictitious writ,
Summon them both before the Chapter-bench. (Coghill 295)
This description of the summoner overall states how the summoner commits the sin of having sexual intercourse with many women. When the summoner is caught by some men, he blackmails them into letting him go free of charge. The Friar is like the summoner because just as the friar repels the vows of his church, the Friar does as well. Overall, it is evident through “The Friar’s Tale” that both the summoner and Friar are alike in more ways than one. This is shown through their greed, and habits of lying.



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