The Canterbury Tales

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The Friar Character Analysis

In medieval society, friars were mendicants, or beggars who could not work but had to live off the charity of others. Although they were supposed to be humble and modest, this Friar is jolly and wants to lead a comfortable life. Instead of ministering to lepers and beggars, as friars are supposed to do, the Friar cultivates relationships with rich men so that he can make a profit. Rather than the simple cloaks of a beggar, the friar wears expensive clothing.
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The Friar Character Timeline in The Canterbury Tales

The timeline below shows where the character The Friar appears in The Canterbury Tales. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
General Prologue
Social Satire Theme Icon
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Church Corruption Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
The merry, wanton Friar is licensed to beg in a certain district. Of all the orders of Friars, his... (full context)
Social Satire Theme Icon
Church Corruption Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
The Friar is an excellent singer and knew every innkeeper and barmaid in every town. He disdains... (full context)
The Wife of Bath’s Prologue
Social Satire Theme Icon
Competition Theme Icon
Friendship and Company Theme Icon
Church Corruption Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
The Friar interrupts the Wife of Bath’s prologue to complain about its length. He and the Summoner... (full context)