What aspects of medieval society does Chaucer satrize in his portrayals of the Merchant, Franklin, Doctor, and the Miller?

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morrol eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chaucer satirizes religious leaders and characterizes them as hypocrites in The Canterbury Tales by making them look foolish next to society's less respected men. When Chaucer speaks of the Monk in the prologue, who is supposed to be a humble servant of the church living in poverty, he is described as wearing "fine gray fur, the finest in the land" (186). This is Chaucer's criticism on the opulence of the church. The Friar is also describes as someone who "hope[s] to make a decent living" (228). Whether he believes that they are liars or hypocrites, Chaucer surely has disdain for certain religious leaders. The Miller's Tale and that of the others mentioned in the question are much more bawdy. Chaucer draws the contrast between the admirable men of low morals, and the likable, less respected men like the Miller and the Franklin.

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The Canterbury Tales

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