Sir. John Campion
Advanced Placement United States History
In Chaucer’s genius work, The Canterbury Tales, the Friar and the Summoner tell tales of mockery about one another. Like the Miller and the Reeve before them the Friar and the Summoner are in rivalry with each other. However the difference between the rivalry between the Reeve and the Miller and the rivalry between the Friar and the Summoner is the competitive spirit. Unlike the Reeve and the Miller, the Friar and the Summoner’s rivalry is not a personal hatred but a hatred for the other’s office.This hatred inspires the tales of both the Friar and the Summoner. The two tell tales that make a mockery of each other’s occupation. Both The Friar’s Tale and The Summoner’s Tale discuss the topic of perversion of office.Unlike the Friar, the Summoner does not tell a noble tale but a humorous tale. After both tales, neither the Summoner nor the Friar is able to justify themselves through their tales. It is quite evident that the two tales are consistent with their tellers. The Friar’s Tale The Summoner’s Tale are the Friar and Summoner’s way of avenging attacks on their professions. The Friar begins the series of attacks in his prologue. In his prologue “the noble Friar”(292) directly attacks the Summoner. The Friar not only ridicules the Summoner by saying “a summoner isn’t much to be commended”(293).The Friar continues the verbal assailment by accusing the Summoner of “dealing out summonses for fornication”(293). The Summoner interrupts the Friar and promises to “pay him back...tell him all about that job of his”(293) after he is finished telling his tale. The Friar then tells his exemplum about a Summoner who perverts his office by committing “adultery and defamation, breaches of wills and contract, spolitation...and disregard of sacraments”(293). The Friar’s moral tale tells a tale about an ugly...