Hypocritical Tendencies in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Essay

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In the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer introduces a variety of characters with a multitude of personalities. From the despicable Summoner to the abrasive Miller, these characters are created with their own personalities and their own human failings. One common fault that characters share is hypocrisy. From pretending to be wealthy to cheating the poor out of money, hypocritical tendencies are abundant in the Canterbury Tales. Throughout the story, Chaucer ridicules the human criticizes the human failing of hypocrisy through the examples of the Pardoner, the Merchant, and the Friar.
One character Chaucer uses to ridicule hypocrisy is the Pardoner. Throughout the description of the pardoner, it is shown that he is corrupt. He uses lies and
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The Merchant portrays himself to be a financial expert in order to hide his poverty: “ This estimable Merchant so had set his wits to work, none knew he was in debt...” (104, 289-290). Although the Merchant gives plenty of opinions on finances, he is a prime example of hypocrisy in that he gives advice that he cannot follow. The Friar is one of the biggest examples of hypocrisy in the story. Throughout the Friar’s description, he is shown to take advantage of his position and shun his duties to benefit himself. Instead of conforming to the poor lifestyle of traditional friars, Chaucer’s Friar manipulates people into giving him money and then pockets it for himself. One way he takes advantage of his position is by charging people for confessions: “Sweetly he heard his penitents at shrift with pleasant absolution, for a gift” (103, 225-226). He also makes money by being an excellent beggar, as shown in the quote: “He was the finest beggar of his batch...For though a widow mightn’t have a shoe, so pleasant was his holy how-d’ye-do he got his farthing from her just the same...” (103, 259-261). The Friar also rejects his duties by refusing to associate with the needy, as described in the passage: “ It was not fitting with the dignity of his position, dealing with a scum of wretched lepers; nothing good can come of dealings with the
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