Canterbury Tales Essay, Research Paper
Fred Baxter November 15, 1999
The Friar?s Tale
The tale begins with the noble Friar describing his district, which is ruled by an archdeacon. The archdeacon is ?one of high degree who boldly does the execution due on fornication, witchcraft, and many kinds of crime.? He is a merciless ruler who torments those who fail to pay their tithes or give offerings. He has ?powers to administer correction.?
The archdeacon has a summoner to teach him where his profit might arise. The Friar expresses much dislike toward the Summoner in his tale. ?A summoner isn?t much to be commended. A Summoner?s one who runs about the nation dealing out summonses for fornication, is beaten up by every villager,? he says. The Summoner knows so much of bribery and blackmail.
The Summoner meets a young yeoman who is also familiar with bribery and blackmail. The yeoman advises him to ?take whatever anyone will give. At any rate by tricks and violences from year to year all expenses will be covered.? The Summoner has no sorrow for his ways of making profit. The Friar explains the incident in which the Summoner demands ?twelve pence? from an old poor woman. He issues a summons-bill because of her lack of communication. The woman believes that ?the devil will carry him away.?
The moral of the Friar?s tale is that if one will commit ruthless acts to make a profit, then the devil will get him. The tale the Friar tells does not relate to Chaucer?s description of him. Chaucer views the Friar as corrupt and immoral. In the Friar?s prologue, he is viewed as noble. Chaucer says that the Friar is the ?finest beggar of his batch.? However, in the Friar?s tale, the Friar talks about the bribery and blackmail committed by the Summoner.
The Cook?s Tale
The Cook?s tale concerns Revelling Peterkin, a jolly and gallant person. The tale takes place in a town called Cheapside. Peterkin is ?as full of love, as full of sin as hives are full of honey, and as sweet.? He dances so merrily and with such a will. At every wedding, he would sing or hop. Peterkin also has such a nice touch when it comes to casting dice. However, he is extravagant in spending which soon catches the attention of his master.
Unfortunately, Peterkin?s master thinks that Peterkin should not be associated with him. He scolds Peterkin all the time. ?Throw out a rotten apple from the hoard or it will rot the others,? he says. Shortly after he says this, he gives Peterkin the sack ?with curses, and forbids him to come back. Peterkin takes revenge and gives his position to a ?fellow who is of the self-same sort equally fond of revelling, dice and sport.?
The tale the Cook tells does not relate to Chaucer?s description of him. Chaucer describes the Cook as a knowledgeable man who can ?roast and seethe and broil and fry, make good thick soup and bake a tasty pie.?