General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales Questions and Answers
by Geoffrey Chaucer

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In The General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, what does Chaucer think of the Friar?

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In The General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, one of several amazing things about this piece of literature is that Chaucer includes himself as one of the members of the pilgrimage. He is simply reporting what he sees and hears—at least on the surface. By reading more closely, Chaucer's intimations about the other members of the group illuminate their true character as seen through Chaucer's eye. In this way, we also discover the characteristics Chaucer admired, as well as those he frowned upon. The latter is the case with Hubert, the Friar. 

The Friar's description appears to start out positively enough:

A friar there was, a wanton and a merry,
A limiter, a very worthy man.
In all the Orders Four is none that can
Equal his friendliness and fair language. (1-4)

There are two definitions of wanton that would apply to the Friar. The archaic use of the word (appropriate to the Middle Ages) referred to someone who was playful. However, the other definition also applies to the...

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