What is the appearance and dress of the Man of Law in The Canterbury Tales?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Man of Law, or Sergeant of the Law as he is called in some texts, is not particularly distinctive in appearance.

He is dressed in "modest," or simple and plain, clothes; his coat is held closed by a belt made of silk. A description of his clothing is given in lines 330-331:

His clothes were modest, his coat was drawn
Around by a silken belt, brightly striped.

On his face he wears a beard that is white, bright against his ruddy complexion. His face is pleasant--"sanguine"--and his ruddy coloring bespeaks a diet of rich food and a life of pleasurable activities that are "his constant passion."

Clearly, the Man of Law is a materialistic man. He purchases "acres and acres of land" and his home is replete with ale, a cellar of wine, and copious amounts of food. A wealthy man and a member of Parliament, the lawyer enjoys his social prestige, and he holds various offices such as sheriff and auditor.

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The Canterbury Tales

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