The Canturbury Tales

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In Geoffrey Chaucer's frame story, Canterbury Tales, there are a number of church- related characters traveling in the group of the pilgrimage. However despite the fact of their oath to god and the church, majority of these characters use their titles in one way or another to suit their personal needs, or in some other way go against the preaching of the church, all except for one.

The Parson, he lives in poverty in not a large town, he is the only devoted churchman in the company, and he walks barefoot throughout the land to minister to his followers personally. However poor, the Parson is a very wise and educated man, who spends most of his money on books. All his advise and comments are highly thought through, and intelligent. He preaches the Gospel and makes sure to practice what he preaches. He is everything that the Monk, the Friar, and the Pardoner are not.

Most monks at that time had lived in a monastery according to the Rule of St.

Benedict, which demanded that they devote their lives to working and praying. However, The Monk cares very little about the rules. He hunts, and enjoys eating. The Monk unlike traditional monks does not, among other things dress as an ordinary monk, instead he wears hunting boots and furs.

Friars, unlike the monks, were roaming priests with no ties to a monastery. This Friar specialized in sweet talk, and was always ready to befriend a young woman or a rich man who might need his services; he actively distributes sacraments in his town, especially during marriages and confessions. Being a man of importance, and religious recognition the Friar uses his status to his personal needs by accepting bribes.

Another character that lives of cheating people out of their money is the Pardoner. Pardoners granted exemption from sin in exchange for a charitable donation to the church. Many pardoners, including this one, collected profits for themselves. But, this Pardoner took his service so seriously, that not only did he sell exemption from sin, he would also sell relics, claiming they were blessed by Virgin Mary, meanwhile they were nothing but chicken bones or other things he picked up on his pass. Using these relics, he got donations even from the lowest classes of people. The Pardoner is the closest character in the story to be the complete opposite of The Parson.

In conclusion, comparing the following church figures to The Parson, he is the only one out of them all who is a genuine church figure, who uses his title and knowledge to enlighten people, and carries out the promise of service to the church. Unlike The Pope, The Friar, and The Pardoner who all use their titles and knowledge to suit their personal needs, and to profit from it.