Ecclesiastical Class

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In Chaucer's prologue to Canterbury Tales, he describes the three classes of medevil society. One of the classes is the ecclesiastical class, which is the church. He gives examples of the people in that group such as the nun, summoner, and the pardoner. The ecclesiastical class seems to be losing their credability at this point in history.

The first person he describes is the nun. He describes her as trying to be more saintly than the average man. She tries to exhibit an elegant and dignified appearance in everything she does. Chaucer writes, "...for courtliness she had a special zest...." This shows that manners are extremely important to her. She also wants to speak French, being that is the language of the lords and ladies. The nun seems to try to hard to be something she is not.

Next, Chaucer writes of the summoner. He seems to live a very foul life. Chaucer shows this by writing, "...And drinking strong wine till all was hazy." Chaucer also mentions, "Children were afraid when he appeared." The stories describe him as being disgusting in appearance. For the payment of wine he overlooks the situation of the married man being unfaithful to his wife. He uses blackmail and other sins for his own greedy purposes. The summoner seems to be an ugly person inside and out.

Another character in the ecclesiastical group is the pardoner. He also uses bribes an gifts for selfish use. Chaucer describes him as being vain by saying, "he aimed at riding in the latest mode." He seems greedy and hypocritical. Chaucer says he, "...Made monkeys out of the priest and congregation." He convinces the church that for gifts and money they can receive forgiveness.

In conclusion, these characters show how the Church is becoming corrupted. At this point in history the church seems to be very hypocritical. The nun, summoner, and the pardoner seem to be more focused ont he world's ways rather than the church. Chaucer shows how the purity and holiness of the ecclesiastical...
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