The friar - An Analysis

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The friar - An Analysis

Character Analysis

The Friar-- Humble Shepherd or Crafty Wolf?

Chaucer was known for his ironic descriptions of various sojourners in the Canterbury Tales . The description given to the Friar in the "General Prologue" does not stray from Chaucer’s trademark. The Friar is described as a "limitour" [begs on the behalf of the poor], yet we see that he is a bachelor on a love hunt, a crooked businessman and does complete his duties as a Friar. The Friar knows many beautiful women, many affluent men, and rarely associates with the class of people he should live among.

The Friar’s duties were to live among the poor, to beg on their behalf and to give his earnings to aid their struggle for livelihood. However, Chaucer allows the reader to see the true character of the Friar. He knows: “so muche of daliance and fair language..” (Norton 211). This no doubt is a way to woo women with sweet words and a crafty tongue. This strategy is also in lines 265-266: “somwhat he lipsed for his wantounesse to make his English sweete upon his tongue... ” This was repeated in lines 215-217: “Ful wel biloved and familer was he..... with the worthy wommen of the town-" A Friar’s duties was not supposed to flirt with the women of the town but to beg for poor. The Friar, using what money he has earned “his tipet was ay farsed ful of knives and pinnes for to yiven faire wives..” (233-234). This states that he buys gifts for women as well. The Friar, as it turns out, is not begging for money to appease his goal to feed the poor, but rather is wooing women to appease his flesh!

The Friar is not just a ladies' man under the guise of a humanitarian, he is also a crooked businessman. He uses his position in the church to get...

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...on, E. Talbot, et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M.H. Abrams. New York. W.W. Norton & Company, © 1993 Provided by The Free Site. Online. Internet. 14 Dec 1998. Gowen, Barry. Online. Internet. 14 Dec 1998. March Hare© 1998. Online. Internet. 15 Dec 1998. Millersville Univesity. Online. Internet. 15 Dec 1998. Harvard University. Online. Internet. 15 Dec 1998.

Deluxe Ellesmere manuscript of the Canterbury Tales, housed in the Huntington Library, in San Marino, California. 21 Dec 1998.

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