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Write a detailed description of the 'Parson' in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

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a-lovely | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 15, 2009 at 8:31 PM via web

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Write a detailed description of the 'Parson' in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted April 16, 2009 at 12:21 AM (Answer #1)

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In line 524 of the General Prologue to his "Canterbury Tales" Chaucer sums up the character of the parson thus: "A bettre preest I trowe that nowher noon ys." He was the best example of a good priest.

The only devout and pious churchman in the company, the Parson is extremely poor, but he is rich in holy thoughts and deeds. The pastor of a medium sized town, he preaches the Gospel and makes sure to practise what he preaches. He is everything that the Monk, the Friar, and the Pardoner are not.

He was a learned person who taught his parishoners sincerely. Although he was poor he was content and  happy even in times of adversity. He never coveted the tithes of his parishoners, but on the contrary he would generously offer them help in cash and kind.

He was a very hard working priest who regularly visited on foot all the  houses of his parishoners which were scattered all over his parish even in adverse weather conditions. He was a man who practised what he preached and preached what he practised. His conduct was unblemished and he was a role model for his parishoners.

He was not a mercenary who sublet his parish to another priest while he himself was preoccupied with making money in London. He dwelt among his parishoners and personally watched over them diligently like a good shepherd so that his sheep were not killed  by the wolf.

Although he was holy and virtuous he was not self righteous. He led his parishoners to heaven by he himself setting a good example to be followed by the others. He was not vain or boastful and his teaching was gentle and practical in nature. But if a sinner was obstinate in continuing in his sinful ways, he did not hesitate to rebuke him harshly no matter whether he was rich or poor.

He did not care for pomp or show. His teaching was based on the unadulterated word of Christ, but he practised it first himself and thus set an excellent example for his parishoners to follow.

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