illustrated portrait of English poet and author Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer

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What is Chaucer's attitude toward the Church and what is satirized?

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In stories from Chaucer such as The Canterbury Tales, it should be clear that Chaucer has a rather dim view of the church. In your paper on Chaucer, you can write about how he satirizes practically everything church-related.

An example of satire can be seen in the Pardoner character....

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On the surface, he pretends to be pious, with a business-like approach to getting people right with God with their repenting. But in actuality, he is essentially a con man. This satirical depiction of people in this profession shows how Chaucer thinks that they are taking advantage of people’s religious beliefs to part them from their money.

There are times where the Pardoner openly admits to those he’s not preying upon that he uses fake religious relics and has no interest in whether his clients end up redeemed or not. He even sells “indulgences,” which are supposed to be a way to reduce how much punishment you have to make up for in the afterlife.

It could help the cause of your paper to write about the Pardoner’s intense hypocrisy, criticizing greed in others while being greedy himself. Other characters that Chaucer uses for satire include the Summoner, the Monk, and the Friar. The Monk, for example, is depicted as having sleeves worked with fur at the end, and other parts of his clothing are adorned with gold, despite his supposedly being a humble man of God.

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