illustration of a clergyman with Canterbury cathedral behind him

The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer

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13: The Friar's Tale Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What insulting remark about summoners is made by the Friar in his prologue?

2. How does the pilgrim Summoner respond to the insult?

3. In what way might a sinner in the tale have the charges of the summoner dismissed?

4. Who does the stranger he meets say he is?

5. What causes the summoner in the tale to declare eternal brotherhood for the stranger?

6. What is the real identity of the stranger?

7. Why don't the farmer's curses send his animal to hell?

8. Why do the curses of the old woman have the result of sending the summoner to hell?

9. What is the theme of this story?

10. What genres are combined in the tale?

Answers
1. He says everyone knows that no good can be said of any summoner.

2. He says he will pay the Friar back when he tells his own tale.

3. He could give the summoner money.

4. He says he is a bailiff.

5. The similarities in their work and philosophies cause the summoner and the bailiff to declare eternal brotherhood: they are both greedy and victimize anyone with even the smallest amount of money.

6. He is a demon from hell.

7. The farmer's curses are not sincere; they just reflect his
momentary anger.

8. The old woman's curses are totally sincere.

9. The relationship between avarice and its disciples is very close; it will land the avaricious man in hell very quickly.

10. It has qualities of the fabliau and of the exemplum.

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14: The Summoner's Tale Questions and Answers