Comparison/Contrast Essay: the Monk & the Parson

Topics: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, Thomas Becket Pages: 2 (688 words) Published: April 9, 2013
Comparison/Contrast Essay: the Monk & the Parson
Geoffrey Chaucer is hailed as the father of English poetry. One of his greatest works is a collection of short stories known as The Canterbury Tales. In The Canterbury Tales a group of people with many different backgrounds and beliefs go on a pilgrimage from London to the shrine of the martyr Thomas a Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. In The “Prologue’’ Chaucer characterizes all the pilgrims that will be going on the pilgrimage. Two of the characters in The Canterbury Tales are the monk and the parson. The monk and the parson can be compared and contrasted; they are alike and different in many ways.

The monk and the parson compare in three ways. They are both members of the church. A monk is a member of a brotherhood that lives in a monastery and is devoted to a life of discipline. A parson is a parish priest authorized to perform the rituals of a religion, and act as mediatory agent between humans and deities. Both of them made vows to god. Monks and parsons made three vows to god: poverty- he had to give up all his worldly goods, obedience he had to promise to obey the church and the rules of the monastery, and chastity. Stay single. The monk and parson are both religious, they devote their lives to god by becoming members of the clergy and making vows. Although the monk and parson compare in many ways, they are also foils to each other in many other ways. First, the monk is concerned with living like a rich man, ‘’I saw his sleeves were garnished at the hand with fine grey fur, the finest in the land"(Lines 197-198). By having his sleeves garnished at the hand with fine grey fur it shows that the monk is concerned with luxury. The parson in contrast to the monk is poor, ‘’ There was, and poor, the parson to a town.’’(Line 487) He chooses to be poor by not running away to London to earn easy bread. Secondly, the monk is lazy, while the parson is works hard. The monk doesn’t study his books and do manual...
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