The Canterbury Tales Corruption

735 Words3 Pages
When considering a religion such as Christianity, dishonesty, stealing and adultery are seen as sins to be avoided at all costs. However, during the middle ages, the Catholic church became corrupt from within when many clergy members began to disregard their duties and customs. Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales highlights and exaggerates the corruption of the church through the use of hyperbole and irony. Most of the religious characters are drastically different from their traditional expectations; the Monk, the Pardoner and the Friar are three specific characters that are heavily involved in the church, but do not live particularly holy lives. While humor and satire are riddled throughout the work, the theme of corruption is made obvious in numerous ways. A monk is defined as a member of a religious community of men typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Chaucer’s Monk is a blatant defiance of this definition, choosing to indulge in his hobby of hunting rather than committing his life to studying and working to spread his religious knowledge. The Monk flaunts his wealth in the most obvious ways, regularly dressing in exquisite clothing, furs and elaborate robes. Rather than fasting and being charitable, he is not hesitant to fill his abundant appetite, which is reflected in his hefty build. In the General Prologue, Chaucer says of the Monk, “Hard riding, and hunting of the hare,/ Were what he loved, and opened his purse for. I noticed
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