• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Remind yourself of the portraits of the Prioress, the Monk and the Friar. Discuss the effects of the way Chaucer Portrays two of these characters.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Remind yourself of the portraits of the Prioress, the Monk and the Friar. Discuss the effects of the way Chaucer Portrays two of these characters. In the course of your answer: * Look closely at the effects of language, descriptive detail and imagery in creating your impressions. * Comment on what these portraits suggest about the Medieval church The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales introduces us to the twenty-eight other pilgrims with whom Chaucer will be travelling to Canterbury. As a pilgrimage was a journey to a sight of Religious importance, it is understandable that among the travellers are figures from the ecclesiastic profession. However, the Medieval Church system was a lot larger than today, and was made up of nearly a quarter of society. It was highly influential on everyday life, due the lack of scientific knowledge, and the value and belief system held at that time. The Medieval church can in some ways be viewed as a large-scale industry, and like any large corporation it was open to abuse and there was wide scale corruption, which is strongly hinted through Chaucer's portrayal of the first three religious pilgrims. ...read more.

Middle

Chaucer shows us a woman whose real interests lie not with her religious vocation but with the fashionable world she know only through hearsay. The Prioress in fact is violating an ecclesiastical edict by going on pilgrimage in the first place, her pet dogs too, are also forbidden. Her unveiled for head and open displays of attractiveness would most certainly be frowned upon. Her disregard for the rules of her order is matched by the monks unmasked contempt for the edicts of St Augustine "he yaf nat of that text a pulled hen." This reveals a comic incongruity between expectation and reality and may represent a conscious criticism of the corrupt state of the church at this time From the description of his physical appearance, the Friar, like the prioress does not seem to fit the image associated with ecclesiastical figures. "His nekke whit was as the flour-de Lys." Which seems unusual because normally only people from the gentry class had fair skin, as they were able to stay indoors. Friars were licensed to beg within a specified area and therefore would be expected to be outside. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lastly Chaucer reveals the Friar's corrupting misuse of confession-one of the greatest sacraments of the church. "For unto a povre ordre for to yive is signe that a man is wel yshrive" he turns confession into a painless business arrangement illicitly inviting the rich to buy absolution without the discomfort of doing penance, "therefore instede of wepinge and preyeres, men moot yeve silver to povre freres." This cynical exploitation of his faith is unchristian and immoral. Yet the Friar stoops even lower by manipulating the poor and vulnerable, "for thogh a wiwe hadde noght a sho... yet wolde he have a ferhing er he wente." This is more than immoral; the Friar is preying on innocent victims for money, when their need is far greater than his own. While Chaucer treats the Prioress and the monk with an amused indulgence, recognising that they do not actually harm their religion though they regard its rules and principles so lightly and are both unsuited to their holy vocation, being more interested in worldly rather than spiritual matters. But the Friar seems to evoke a sense of outrage in Chaucer, which he voices through scathingly ironic remarks, "there nas no man nowher so vertuous." ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Geoffrey Chaucer section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. With special reference to The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale, would you describe ...

    Her overall nature could be considered overwhelming by men, especially those who are anti-feminist, who also happened to be a common recipient of Chaucer's work. The wife illustrates many fears that men have concerning women and this could have had an overall comedic effect on the reader, rather than the reader viewing the text as overtly feminising.

  2. Write an essay on the variety of ways in which Chaucer treats the subject ...

    the notion that true love can only exist outside of marriage; that true love may be idealized or spiritual, and may exist without ever being physically consummated; and that a man becomes the servant of the lady he loves. Thus the entrance of Arcite and Palamon in the Knight's tale,

  1. Are fairytales 'just' stories for children? Refer to at least two tales in ...

    This would explain why so many of the French tales of the oral and literary tradition found their way into the Grimms' collection, including a Cinderella story called "Aschenputtel," which in contrast to Perrault's version, invokes severe punishment on the step-sisters.

  2. 'Langland's Piers Plowman greatly influenced The Canterbury Tales'. Discuss, with particular reference to estates ...

    Where Chaucer's Plowman fulfils his peasant role by remaining silent as appropriate for the third estate (unlike the Miller or Wife of Bath, for example), Langland creates the authoritative Piers who becomes a spiritual leader for the oppressed poor. Here, the two poets seem to be employing different techniques to criticise lazy peasants.

  1. Chaucer's use of biblical material in ‘The Miller’sTale’.

    She is further sarcastically characterized by her name, as in Old English and German it means 'honest', 'noble' and most, or least, of all 'holy'. After her husband tells her of the evacuation plan, Alison tells John she is his faithful wife - something he accepts and believes as a

  2. Geoffrey Chaucher's The Canterbury Tales - The Wife of Bath.

    She describes how she uses her wifehood as an instrument to create equality. She goes on to say, "Upon his flesh whil that I am his wyf./I have the power durynge al my lyf/Upon his proper body, and noght hr(Chaucer 163-165 WOB).

  1. Geoffrey Chaucer.

    On a mission to Italy in 1372-73, Chaucer probably met Boccaccio and Petrarch. Of course he read some work from him and other people. Chaucer went out on other missions in Flanders, France, and Lombardy. He returned to London in 1374 he was appointed to the government position of Comptroller of Customs monitoring sales of wools and hides.

  2. Literature and Dissent in the Age of Chaucer

    Entuned in hir nose ful semely , And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly ..." Here we can see that Chaucer speaks of the prioress in a manner which depicts her as a person of polite manners and breeding.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work