The Canterbury Tales Character Sketch

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Author Geoffrey Chaucer describes in-depth several characters who intend to embark on a religious pilgrimage in his piece The Canterbury Tales. One of the prominently featured characters is the Friar. The Friar is certainly one of the most unorthodox characters in the piece who is the antithesis of the character qualities expected of a friar. Chaucer’s description and implications reveal that the Friar is an adulterous, cold-hearted individual with a disingenuous personality that is rooted in his self-absorbed nature. Chaucer’s description of the Friar is quite extensive comparative to that of the other pilgrims he discusses, allowing the reader to develop a complete picture of him. Throughout the description, Chaucer reveals the…show more content…
He reveals, “He was an easy man for absolution Where he looked forward to a contribution” (67 lines 218-219). The Friar blatantly contradicts his calling to uphold Scripture by granting absolution in exchange for a bribe. This clearly indicates that the Friar is not concerned with the welfare of others but rather is interested in profiting from their sins. The Friar’s inconsiderate nature is further revealed by Chaucer when he describes how the Friar would react to an encounter with a direly impoverished woman. Chaucer predicts, “Should a woman have no shoes against the snow, So pleasant was his ‘In principio’ He would have her widow’s mite before he went” (68 lines 245-247). It is quite uncommon to characterize a friar, whose duty it is to minister to the poor, as an individual who would express no willingness to aid a woman in desperate poverty. Yet Chaucer describes the Friar as one who would exhibit such an indifferent, cold-hearted response. In both of these scenarios, Chaucer illustrates the Friar’s contrasting interactions with the public and his lovers, which reveals his disingenuous personality. Not only does the discrepancy between public and private interactions indicate the Friar’s disingenuous personality, but also Chaucer’s description of his behavior around those individuals who can offer him something. Chaucer explains, “To deal with such riffraff; but with the rich, With sellers of
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