The Prologue give you of the Church in Chaucer’s England

This man was not ‘pale as a forpined goost’; rather his favourite roast meal was ‘a fat swan’ (expensive food, another sign of lack of obedience to ‘poverty’). Chaucer brings the portrait to a close by describing the Monk’s horse as being ‘broun’, a sign of good health, this encapsulates the entire portrait as being both a mark of prosperity, but the horse is also in good health like his owner, this summarizes the whole immorality and negligence of duty.

The second character is the Friar; whom, like the Monk does Chaucer attack for his misuse of power, his manipulation of the vulnerable and his sexual promiscuity. Chaucer opens the portrait by getting to the point, saying that the Friar was ‘wantowne and a merie’, automatically targeting the disordered behaviour and frivolous nature of the Friar. Chaucer attacks him, saying that there is no friar in any of the four religious orders that can speak in such an obsequious nature (‘so muchel of daliaunce and fair langage’ – line 211).

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Chaucer immediately exposes the Friars sexual promiscuity, depicting how he used to exploit young girls, by seducing them and then paying them off in marriage.

This is immediately followed by the Friar being described as being ‘Unto his ordre he was a noble post’ this is Chaucer ironically saying that in being an honoured member, the order itself must be deeply rooted in this sexual promiscuity. Also Chaucer’s use of the word ‘noble’, which is used frequently throughout The General Prologue, is for ironic effect, making the Friar appear at first honourable and initially shrouding his immorality from the reader.

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