MATERIALISTIC DESIRE VERSUS THE RICHNESS OF HOLY ACTIONS
Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The General Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales can be portrayed as a story based on the concept of wealth, and what one can truly benefit from following it. Throughout his prologue, Chaucer visualizes the values that the characters hold in correlation to money by using imagery of the pilgrims clothing, transportation, and luxury items. The narrator follows this by illustrating the consequences that come from pursuing wealth, and how it can corrupt one’s religious beauty. However, few characters presented in his descriptions challenge what has wistfully become the norm, and possesses a holy beauty that outweighs the desire for materialistic belongings “And specially, from every shires ende / Of Engelond to /Caunterbury they wende, / The holy blisful martir for to seke, / That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke” (14 - 17). In the prologue, the Parson represents what should be the ideal values of the community, and proves that wealth does not corrupt all. His moral compass allows him to see the spiritual beauty in his actions while using his uncorrupted values to assist people in their way of life. He depicts this by looking within and using Christ as his guiding point, as well as giving what he has to help society.
As opposed to characters such as the Monk and the Friar, who prioritize on serving themselves while failing to help the people, the Parson is one of the few churchmen that avoids the glamorous trend that has unfortunately become the typical lifestyle. Unlike many of the other characters presented in the story, the Parson dedicates himself to a life of poverty “A good man was ther of religioun, / And was a povre...
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...iar; who give the reader a fallacious perspective of what those of religious status should be. Contrasting the comfortable lives other characters choose to hold, the Parson puts his personal comfort second and stays close to his parishioners in order to serve them to the highest quality he can provide.
In summary, the Parson has a soul like no other and demonstrates the power that comes with one staying true to their religious duty. With his moral compass pointing true North, he pushes to better himself as a person and those around him. The Parson gives a genuine insight to the values someone of a religious status should possess, and uses the guiding point of Christ to avoid the temptation of pursuing wealth. He makes the choice to rise above the lifestyle based around materialistic desire and lives one that provides a richness that can only come from holy actions.
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