Feudal System In Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

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During the Middle Ages, churchmen developed a feudal system that would separate the aristocrats, clergy, and, peasants into three different estates. The clergy estate included members of the church who were full of corruption and, eventually tarnished the reputation of the spiritual domain. In Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the Friar and Pardoner take advantage of the poor, are motivated by wealth, and misrepresent the Catholic faith, while the Parson represents an ideal member of the clergy. The Friar and Pardoner both treat the poor miserably, contrasting to the Parson who dedicates his life to them. A friar must always be open to serving all people, either rich or poor. Chaucer criticizes the Friar’s belief towards both groups by…show more content…
Although he is part of the clergy, the Friar never fulfills his vow of chastity. Chaucer says, “He’d fixed up many a marriage, giving each/ Of his young women what he could afford her” (216-7). The Friar slept with many women, and afterwards paid them off and found them husbands so they would keep their mouths shut. The Pardoner is an excellent preacher, but for the wrong reasons. Chaucer says, “He’d have to preach and tune his honey-tongue/ And (well he could) win silver from the crowd/ That’s why he sang so merrily and loud” (732-4). In church, the Pardoner was very good at reading stories with morals, but never actually followed these morals himself. This can relate to the Pardoner’s tale, in which the Pardoner reiterates that greed is the cause of all evil. The Pardoner himself understands that principle, but still preaches to win money from his listeners. The Pardoner never follows his own exemplum. The Parson diligently put his teachings into action. Chaucer says, “Yet he neglected not in rain or thunder,/ In sickness or in grief, to pay a call” (502-3). The Parson serves as an example for others, and always visited his parishioners no matter the weather or health condition. Out of three clergy members, the Parson is the only character to accomplish his tasks as a servant of

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