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Dear Arch Bishop of Canterbury, (letter on Geoffry Chaucer's 'The General Prologue').

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Introduction

39 Mortham Street Stratford London E15 3LS 26th January 2004 To Arch Bishop of Canterbury Canterbury Kent B5 7QP Dear Arch Bishop of Canterbury, I have recently finished studying an anthology of poetry by Geoffry Chaucer called "The General Prologue", having done so I am completely enraged and horrified to discover the appauling and disgusting behaviour of the religious people in the 14th century. Three out of four religious characters were corrupt, and it was shocking that the disgraceful behaviour was not stopped. I am writing to you to share my knowledge of this corruption in the church at this time. The first and maybe the most important point I would like to bring to your attention, is the fact that many of these characters did not perform their religious duties. The monk was expected to spend his whole life in prayer but instead, he spent most of his time outside the monastery, "An outridere." Chaucer uses the word "outridere" and this implies to us that the monk spends most of his time on horseback, this is truly disgraceful because he should be in the church performing his religious duties. ...read more.

Middle

He is not truly giving people absolution, he is giving them an easy way out; you cannot buy forgiveness. The prioress does not break the rules but she changes and adapts them to satisfy her own needs "ful semyly hir wympul pynched was." Chaucer highlights to us that she is not modest because she is changing the way her wimple looks. Nuns had to cover their foreheads to show modesty but the prioress used the wimple as a fashion statement to frame her face. This will encourage other nuns to copy her, causing corruption in the church. The language used to describe the prioress clearly suggests that she is trying to impress someone. She pleated it so people would notice her, she should not be dressing up for anyone because she lives in a nunnery. The prioress should not care how her wimple looks because she should not be trying to impress anyone. I believe that truly religious characters should not show off and should treat everyone equally, but this is not the case with the friar. The friar is not modest and he definitely does not show equity towards everyone "But he was lyk a maister or a pope." ...read more.

Conclusion

This influences my opinion about the friar because it shows that he is truly corrupt. It is absolutely dreadful that there was only one religious character in the church to actually help people and was not there for the money "He was a shepeherde and noght a mercenaire." This show that he is very giving and takes his duties seriously. The parson was an educated man so he could have earned more money by hiring himself out. However, the parson did not want to do that, he wanted to stay with his people so he would be able to help them follow the right path and help them end up in heaven. This shows that he is truly a honourable man, unlike the friar or monk. It is very disappointing and shocking that these characters got away with this disgraceful behaviour. How did this happen? Surely, somebody was responsible for checking on the religious members of the church to make sure they were performing their duties properly. Why wasn't the parson rewarded for all his hard work, and the monk given punishment for his sins? I hope this behaviour and level of corruption does not exist in the church today. Yours faithfully, Neelam Mohammad ...read more.

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