Church Corruption In Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

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In “The Canterbury Tales” Chaucer illustrates the corruption of the church through the religious characters in both the tales and the prologue and their obsession with money. Illustrating the fact that medieval England, the church had a big impact on the lives of people due to them being able to “read” the bible. In many cases, this was uses to manipulate people into giving their money to church. Throughout the tales, people are shown to stand up to the church and beat them at their own game and this provides the ideal response to church corruption.

In the story, both the characters on the pilgrimage and the characters within the stories themselves display elements of church corruption. Out of all the characters on the journey, the Pardoner is the most obvious case of a corrupt member of the church. The prologue of the Pardoner illustrates his obsession with material wealth and the hypocrisy of his job. During this drunken state, he rants to the company that “Covetousness is both the root and stuff of all I preach” (p. 243) this oxymoronic phrase illustrates his corruption. Covetousness refers to one of the ten commandments; You shall not covet your neighbors …show more content…

The Friar ends by telling the Summoner that he should turn back to Jesus who will be “your champion and your knight”, this military metaphor refers to Jesus’s ability to protect one’s soul from temptation, like a chivalrous knight follows the code and protects the weak. This implies that the easily corrupted Summoner’s need Jesus’s protection and help to stop giving in to the temptation of corruption. Furthermore, the Friar also warns the Summoner what will happen if he continues down the road stating “learn repentance ere the devil get you.” representing Chaucer’s belief that if the church does not change, it will be punished by

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