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

1 Answer

User Comments

lit24's profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

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 practice what he preaches. He is everything that the Monk, the Friar, and the Pardoner are not.

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

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

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 parishioners 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 parishioners to heaven by setting a good example to be followed by 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 practiced it first himself and thus set an excellent example for his parishioners to follow.