Geoffrey Chaucer: the Cantebury Tales & Hypocrisy in the Church of England During the,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,,

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Geoffrey Chaucer was an English poet during the Medieval Era. While he does not appear to have been a social reformer, he drew attention to the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church in his works, The Canterbury Tales. Scholars agree that little is known about Chaucer. We do not have much personal inform- mation, such as “the memorabilia, letters, diaries, personal reminiscences, that cluster thickly around such later figures as Byron, Shelley or Yeats” (Morrison 7). Most of what is known has been gathered from official or public documents. According to West, “we don’t even know if he was Anglo-Saxon or Norman French as Chaucer (from chaussier, a shoemaker) indicates” (42). While not…show more content…
Chaucer’s Pardoner is vain, loathed the lower class and hated manual labor. He was paid by the Church to offer and sell indulgences. The Catholic Church was conveying the message that forgiveness comes at a price. The Pardoner’s physical appearance also makes a statement. He is beardless and has long, greasy yellow hair. In Chaucer’s time these characteristics were associated with shiftiness and uncertainty of gender. The Pardoner “boasted that he had mastered the arts of chicanery and deceit. He shamelessly promoted his welfare at the expense of the gullible” (Shaffern 2). The Pardoner preaches that the love of money is the root of all evil. This is an evil that he himself was guilty of. In The Cantebury Tales the Pardoner states “Thus kan I preche again that same vice; Which that I use, and that is avarice” (Shaffern 2). Also according to Shaffern, “Finally, the rootless, shiftless, and lazy pardoner was guilty of not only avarice, but sloth and lust as well: For I wol preche and begge in sundry landes; I wol nat do no labour with myne handes, Ne make baskettes and lyve therby, By cause I wol nat beggen ydelly. I wol noon of the apostles countrefete; I who have moneie, wolle, chese, and whete… And have a joly wenche in every toun.” (3) It was ironic that the Host asked The Pardoner to tell

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