The Friar In Relation To His Tale
Essay, Research Paper
The Friar, in relation to his tale, possesses characteristicssimilar to the content of his account which he produces during apilgrimage to Canterbury. As a man of the church, the Friar abuses hispower by attempting to profit from the sins of others. The obligation ofthe Friar is to put into action the words of Christ; however, bymisusing the authority granted to him, the Friar reveals his hypocrisy.A fine example of this man s pretense of virtue is concerned withchastity and sexuality. The Friar, however, does not completelydisregard his moral values. This member of religious order divulges thework of Christ by advising repentance in order to avoid damnation inHell.The Friar, also known as Hubert, had a special license from thePope, but decided to choose a path of corruption and greed. Theresponsibility of the Friar was to beg for money, or to raise funds forhis community within a specific geographical area (Hallissy 137), andlisten to the confessions of sinners. The Friar does attain his duty ofaccumulating money, but by finding and exploiting commercialopportunities (Bloom 113). On the expedition to Canterbury with hisfellow pilgrims, the Friar narrates a tale concerning a certainsummoner. The task of summoners is to convene sinners for a trial in thepresence of church leaders. In The Friar s Tale the summoner mistreatshis authority. The Friar considers the summoner as a treacherous thief who knew so much of bribery and black mail and drew large profits tohimself thereby. In The Friar s Tale the summoner quoted, Withoutextortion, how can I make a living. This is a worthy example of thepower that the summoner abuses. Without the intent of relating himselfwith the summoner in his tale, the Friar reflects similar traits thatthe summoner possesses. The Summoner abuses the prerogatives of hisoffice for his own profit. But so does his critic the Friar (Hallissy138). Friar Hubert makes great efforts of deceiving sinners. Strayingaway from his true obligation, the Friar accrues money from sinners inorder to gain a personal profit. Chaucer wrote, For many a fellow is sohard at heart he cannot weep, for all his inward smart therefore insteadof weeping and of prayer, One should give silver for a poor friar scare. The Friar s abuse of power illustrates the characteristic ofhypocrisy which he possesses. Instead of collecting money for his order,the Friar misleads those who have committed sin by provoking them tooffer money. Chaucer describes this mendicant as the finest beggar ofhis batch. The Friar was indeed a fine beggar, but not for theappropriate objective. Chaucer quotes in describing this fraud, Anywhere a profit might accrue, courteous he was and lowly of servicetoo. This man of religious order was a genuine hypocrite. The Friarnarrates a story about a summoner, who is also a hypocrite. Extortingmoney from sinners is not included in the summoner s task. Summoners aresupposed to summon alleged evildoers to those courts (Hallissy 138).For example, in The Friar s Tale the summoner accuses a widow ofperforming sexual acts with a friar or priest. This officer of thechurch demands money from this poor, old dame. If she refuses, the widowrisks chances of excommunication. Enraged with such accusation, the oldlady curses the summoner to hell. In this scenario the summoner receiveshis proper punishment as a result from his own greed. In comparison tohis tale the Friar neglects his office putting the money he extortedfrom sinners into his own pocket. The two of them are both hypocritesbecause both are skilful at wheedling money, and are only out for whatthey can get (Cooper 131). Avoiding the poor and cultivating therich (Bloom 113), the Friar truly marks himself as a fraud, and as a
hypocrite.The Friar, an authentic hypocrite, ignores his vows of chastityand seeks for the gratification with other women. Contrary to the actualpractice of a holy man, the Friar possesses a fondness for middle-classestablishments, agreeable women and smooth talk (Cooper 131). Friars, asa clerical order, hold vows of poverty and humility, as well as thevows of chastity and obedience (Bloom 113) However Friar Hubert exposeshimself to women. Chauser wrote describing the Friar , Highly andintimate was he with Country Folk within his boundary, and city dames ofhonour and possessions. In The Friar s Tale the summoner breaks hisvows of chastity by relating with other women. Summoners hold a positionin the church and are required to remain focused on their duty. On thecontrary the summoner in The Friar s Tale overlooks this undeniablepledge. The Friar speaks about a hypocritical summoner who takespleasure from the presence of women. The Friar stated , He was a thief,a summoner, a pimp. The Friar s summoner had a network ofacquaintances among medieval low-lives, bawds (pimps) and wenches (Hallissy 139). Without the objective of relating himself withthe summoner in his tale, the Friar similarly broke his vows ofchastity. Chaucer wrote, He d fixed up many a marriage, giving each ofhis young women what he could afford her. The breaking of his chastityvows demonstrates the significant character which the Friar possesses.Although he deceives sinners in order to receive a personal gainand breaks the vows of humility and chastity, the Friar is not absolutely an immoral individual. The Friar preaches about repentance inhis tale. In The Friar s Tale the summoner collaborates with the Devilin deceiving people. Despite the knowledge of the identity of hispartner, the summoner continues to associate with the Devil. Thesummoner stated, Though you are Satan s self, the very Devil! I keep myword of honour to a brother, as I have sworn, and so shall each toother. An argument takes place in the situation where the summonerconfronts an old widow. The innocent lady curses the summoner to Hell.The Devil suddenly shows his presence to the two individuals and willingto take the soul of the summoner unless repentance was offered. Thesummoner refused and as a result, he was damned in Hell, wheresummoners have their special shelf. Since the summoner refused torepent, his life on earth ceased. The Friar urges others to repent fortheir sins in order to be saved from Hell. In The Friar s Tale thesummoner did not repent; therefore he damned himself (Hallissy 144).The Friar does remain faithful to Christ by encouraging others torepent. This action makes the Friar a moral individual in a particularmanner, despite his actions of fraud and lack of humility. Damnation is not God s will for His creatures. The Friar reminds the audience that the pains of this cursed house of hell can be avoided by prayer and avoidance of temptation. The Friar, inadequate of God s grace though he is, ends his tale with sound spiritual advice to the audience (Hallissy144).In conclusion, the Friar, a man holding a particular office in thechurch, shares several similarities with the character of the summonerin his tale. Authorized to hear the confessions of sinners and to raisemoney for his order, the Friar abuses his power by misleading others.This action goes against the true obligation of friars. As a result ofhis deceptions, the Friar is considered to be a hypocrite. He haspledged his commitment to the mission of Christ, but has misused hisauthority in order to get a personal benefit. The Friar also pledged tochastity; instead of fulfilling his vows of chastity, he exposes himselfwith prostitutes for pleasure and self gratification. However the Friardoes advise those who have sinned to repent. This moral suggestionpresented by the Friar reveals some sort of righteousness within him.