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Corruption of Catholic Church

In: English and Literature

Submitted By mcoker10
Words 661
Pages 3
Miranda Coker
Mrs. Ashley Coker
English IV Honors
9 January 2015
The Corruption of the Medieval Catholic Church in The Canterbury Tales In the Fourteenth Century, the Catholic Church took over Ireland, England, and almost all of Europe. Through a number of Crusades, which spanned about two hundred years, the church acquired a great amount of wealth. As a result of this tremendous accumulation of wealth, as well as an over emphasis on lavish places of worship, cathedrals were built in all of the larger cities. However, the communities of the middle and lower class in society suffered from poverty, resulting in sickness and death (“Greed and Corruption in The Canterbury Tales” 1). Why sit back, turn a deaf ear, and watch the people suffer and die while spending a fortune on places of worship? This is most likely the reason why Geoffrey Chaucer portrays some characters in The Canterbury Tales, such as the Pardoner, Friar, and Monk, as being greedy and often hypocritical. The Pardoner is a perfect example of this corruption. His work in the church is to hear the confessions of wrong-doers and pardon them of their sins. As he travels, he confesses to using a particular tale to manipulate his audiences. The Pardoner explains that he pushes guilt into the people by telling them that greed is the root of all evil, in order to coax them into giving him offerings. These offerings go directly into his greedy hands. Hardly a man of God, he demonstrates or reveals his self-centered and two-faced character (Chaucer 158-159). Another prominent illustration of this hypocrisy found in the role of the Friar. A Friar was sworn to avoid the material comforts of the world and to abstain from sumptuous living. While living this life of deprivation, he had the authority of the church to beg for charitable donations or receive payment for performing sacred duties. However, as he...

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