The Cantaberry Tales Prologue

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The General Prologue In "The General Prologue" of The Canterbury Tales Chaucer introduces the reader to the characters in the story through the eyes of the narrator. However, the narrator does not seem to be very demanding when it comes to judging people's characters. This can be clearly seen as the Friar's and the Parson's descriptions are compared and contrasted. Though both of them are at one point or another described as worthy or good men, they are obviously very different in their attitude toward wealth, willingness to sacrifice their morals for profit, and their behavior toward others. While the Pastor is consistently portrayed as a good man throughout the whole prologue, the Friar is shown as a greedy individual, willing to go to great lengths in order to accumulate affluence. The reader is unable to tell if the narrator is being sarcastic when he calls the Friar "worthy" and is therefore forced to take that description at its face value.

Both the Friar and the Parson have their own opinion toward the importance of capital in a person's life. Chaucer deliberately compares this aspect of the Friar's and the Pastor's characters as if to show how different the two really are. On lines 478-479 of "The General Prologue" the narrator introduces the Pastor by saying "And was a povre Persoun of a toun,/But riche he was of holy thoght and werk" (Chaucer, 15). This automatically makes the reader assume that the Pastor places much more value on his beliefs and work than he does on things with monetary worth. Though he is poor in the eyes of other men, in his own eyes he is rich, for he is happy doing what he feels is right. He lives by the statement "That if gold ruste,