Canterbury Tales Essay

627 words - 3 pages


Corruption in the Church
     Chaucer lived in a time dictated by religion and religious ideas in which he uses The Canterbury Tales to show some of his views. Religion played a significant role in fourteenth-century England and also in Chaucer’s writing. His ideas of the Church are first seen in “The Prologue,'; and he uses seven religious persons to show the influence of the religion in his writing. Although many of his characters appear to portray part of the corruption in the Church, he does give a small example in which one can conclude that he is speaking in praise.
     The Friar, who lived off begging, appears to live a lowly existence, while Chaucer refers to the papacy in writing, “he had a special license from the Pope'; (Chaucer 9.) Chaucer utilizes his opening statements of the Friar to present his character drawbacks, which can provide for a greater representation of the Church. In his description, it is shown that he will help the society “for a small fee'; (Chaucer 10.) The Friar, being a religious person, uses his power to benefit for his own greed. This is one example of the corrupted Church.
     It is clear that the Monk is found to be one of the most underhanded religious figures on the pilgrimage to Canterbury. Chaucer makes forceful insults in his character explication. “The Rule of good St. Benet or St. Maur/ As old and strict he tended to ignore'; (Chaucer 7.) A monk is supposed to have a strong authority in the Church, but
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Chaucer explains that he breaks the written laws and precedents set by people recognized as Saints and highly acclaimed people. The Monk is a lazy, disgusting man who lived a dishonest and imprudent life.
     The Pardoner and Summoner appear together in “The Prologue.'; They further illustrate an example of Chaucer’s awareness of a defiled Church....

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