Canterbury Tales: The Friars Tale Essay, Research Paper
In Geoffrey Chaucer?s The Canterbury Tales, ?The Friar?s Tale? supports the Friar?s persona outlined in the opening prologue. The tale told bye the Friar is one about extortion and hypocrisy, which is how Chaucer subtly describes the Friar. The tale told by the Friar is also a clever way of the Friar to express his dislike for his fellow pilgrim, the Summoner.
The Friar, by definition of his job title, is to be a man of the church, caring for the poor and less fortunate and living by the Bible. On the contrary, the Friar is known amongst the towns? people as a drinking man: ? He knew the taverns well in every town/ And every innkeeper and barmaid too/ Better than lepers, beggars and that crew.? (EMC, page 192). Also, the Friar is very flirtatious when it comes to women. He carries gifts to give to a random girl who may be attractive: ?He kept his tippet stuffed with pins for curls, / And pocket-knives, to give to pretty girls? (EMC, 192). Whether or not he is truly qualified to work, as a church official is quite skeptical. ?For he was qualified to hear confessions/Or so he said, with more than priestly scope; / He had a special license from the Pope? (EMC, 192). Chaucer believes that the Catholic Church is corrupt and he believes no different when it comes to describing the Friar: ?Sweetly her heard his penitents at shrift/With pleasant absolution, for a gift? (EMC, 192). Even though he is a corrupt church official he tries to maintain his image bye keeping peace, but still expresses his dislike for his fellow pilgrim: ?This worthy limiter, this noble friar, / He turned always a lowering face, and dire, / Upon the summoner, but for courtesy/ No rude and insolent word as yet spoke he?
In addition, the tale that the Friar tells is about a corrupt summoner and his pact with the devil. In short, the basic moral of the story is that money should not be the basis of existence. The moral is evident from the time the summoner meets the Yeoman in the woods and talks about extorting money from people, to the very end when the Summoner is condemned to hell by the older lady with the pan. (Litrix)
Likewise the basis of ?The Friar?s Tale? is a bout a disliked corrupt Summoner. The Friar?s dislike for the Summoner and his corruption was made clear during the tale?s prologue; ?But if it pleases all this company, then, / I?ll tell you of a summoner, to make game. / By God, you could surmise it by the name/ That of a summoner may no good be said/?(litrix). It is expected that the Friar tell a story of the dislike of a fellow pilgrim, due to the fact that his job forbids him from expressing his true feelings by words or other actions.
Also, a tale of hypocrisy may also be expected out of the Friar. Being introduced to the corruption that surrounds the Friar?s life it may be expected that he tell a story of things he knows best. The tale reveals the secrets that the Summoner uses but it also reveals the same for the Friar. The Catholic Church of the time is known for the selling of forgiveness. It the tale the Summoner is condemned to hell by a women who will not pay off her sin?s against the church: ??Twelvepence!? cried she, ?Our Lady Holy Mary/ Sot truly keep me out of care and sin, / I have not twelvepence in my house all told. / You know right well that I am poor and old; / Show mercy unto me, a poor old wretch!? (Litrix).
In conclusion, the ?Friar?s Tale? supports not only the persona that is given but also the attitude towards the Friar?s fellow pilgrim on the long journey to Canterbury, the Summoner. The problem of corruption and extortion of the Catholic Church is brought many times. Not only are the people closest to the Church supposed to be extremely holy, good people but so are the lowly workers and it is known that many of them are not. The moral of the ?Friar?s Tale? is that money can not buy forgiveness or salvation, honest hard work are the only things that can.
?The Prologue.? Literature and the Language Arts: The British Tradition. EMC/Paradigm Publishing St.
?The Litrix Reading Room? The Canterbury Tales: The Friar?s Tale.