1. Chaucer satirizes many aspects of medieval society. Discuss what Chaucer satirizes through his description of the church people on the pilgrimage to Canterbury.
Some characters that Chaucer satirizes through his description of the church people on the pilgrimage are the Monk and the Friar. Through the examples that these two characters exhibit, Chaucer informs the reader on how shady and dishonest representatives of the church can be.
First, Chaucer presents a corrupt Monk who loves living the good life and cares more about hunting than taking care of his duties. He satirizes the Monk by saying that he is certainly a "prelate fit for exhibition" and pronounces that the Monk is perfectly suitable for the office of abbot. A true monk's responsibilities would consist of looking after the monastery's estate, studying the scriptures and following the rules set down by St. Benedict. However, Chaucer's Monk does not care as all about the rules and bears no guilt about living his life the way he does.
He lavishes himself with expensive clothing and houses fine horses along with well bred hunting hounds. In the Middle Ages, monks who took delight in hunting were severely condemned by reformers. In fact, hunting was considered an immoral activity during this time. The Monk, simply put, is a worshipper of materialism. The sleeves of his coat are laced with the finest grey fur, and his hood is fastened under his chin with a gold love knot. His boots are also expensive and his bald head shines radiantly as if rubbed with oil. He is also a healthy fit man that is well fed and loves to feast upon a plump roasted swan.
Another character that Chaucer satirizes is the Friar. The Friar is described as a seeker of pleasure. A friar's prime objective was...