In spite of the fact that in Chaucer’s age, religion had a control over the personalities and soul of the individuals, yet lamentably, its impact was degenerate. The cloisters were advertising debasement, misusing the blameless people and were gaining cash under the cover of religion. Moralities and morals were blurring. The ministers had gotten famous for their covetousness, defilement and deceitfulness. They had overlooked their consecrated obligations and had gotten declined.
In ‘The Prologue’, Chaucer has drawn a few representations of the ministries of the fourteenth century England, free from any particular bias. These are not overstated portrayals and they reasonably allude to the defilement, and religious and good debasement that had crawled into the clerical request of the day. His humorous representations uncover that Chaucer had some thought of a set of accepted rules for pastorates to take after yet he is unprejudiced and practical and paints both the sides of picture. Through the representations of delight cherishing Monk, the wanton Friar, the degenerate Pardoner, he uncovered the cleverness of the average Church dignitaries.
He likewise gives the picture of a decent Parson. Chaucer appreciates him on the grounds that the persons like him were getting uncommon in his age. A concise depiction of the clerical characters of ‘The Prologue’ tosses much light on Chaucer’s mentality towards religion.
1. The Prioress
The Prioress is the first religious figure in ‘The Prolog’. She grins obligingly and sings in her nasal tone. Chaucer says humorously that she is mindful of the conduct of the general public and knows how to convey piece to her mouth.
Wel koude she carie a piece, and wel kepe,
That no drope ne fille upon hir brest.
She wears popular dress with a brilliant suggest, engraved with the words: “Love Vincit Omnia” i.e. “Affection prevails over everything”. She positively means high-class religious-minded women of the fourteenth century. She is not a perfect Nun and encapsulates the qualities of the contemporary prioress.
2. The Monk
The Monk is a joy cherishing individual. An outridere, that lovede venerie, He is fat like a master, for he heads a loose life and relaxes in consuming, drinking and happy making. He is totally oddball to his calling. He is partial to fine dresses. He wears hide lined sleeves, gold sticks and affection hitch.
Alove knot in the gretter end ther was
He doesn’t prefer to study the strict leads and control of the shelter. He prefers chasing and has fine steeds and dogs in his stable.
3. The Friar
The Friar is a wanton, eager and degenerate individual who dismisses his obligations and does not worry about religion. He is partial to singing, happy making, drinking and going to hotels and open spots. He manufactures relations with the rich Franklin and commendable ladies. He is a rebel, enticer of ladies and fraud. He empowers sins by setting a simple result of statement of regret, abuses his power and endeavors others regarding their wrongdoing. He was likewise exceptionally master in the specialty of begging.
4. The Summoner
The Summoner is a frightful figure. Youngsters are anxious about him.
Of his visage children were aferd.
He adores garlic, red wine and onion. He is a charlatan who permits individuals to bear on their wrongdoings and forgets them for a little gift to him. He knows the mystery of youngsters and men and endeavors them to his investment.
The yonge girles of the diocise,
What’s more knew hir conseil, and was al hir reed.
5. The Pardoner
The Pardoner is an intensive trick. His pack is loaded with relics which he offers to housewives and acquires a ton.
He hadde a croys of latoun, ful of stones,
Also in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
He deludes the basic people. He sings joyfully, sweetly and pulls in the individuals thusly. Chaucer has a poor notion of him and incidentally calls him “a honorable religious”.
6. The Parson
As opposed to these degenerate religious characters, Chaucer gives a charming picture of the poor Parson, a shepherd, who secures his herd from the wolf.
A good man was ther of religioun,
Also was a povre persoun of a toun;
He lectures earnestly, effectively and tries to try to do he says others should do. He heads a straightforward, temperate life of commitment and administration. A bettre preest I trowe that nowher twelve ys;
7. The Clerk
The Clerk is not a religious character yet he is mulling over at chapel. The Clerk is one of the admired characters. He is knowledgeable in rationale.
A clerk ther was of Oxenford also,
That unto logyk hadde longe ygo.
He doesn’t pursue pomposity and common greatness. He is a money grubber and poor. He is snappy and compelling in his discussion. He is happy to learn and happy to instruct. He is the picture of the writer’s learning.
We can infer that Chaucer has given a genuine and sensible picture of the religious characters of his age. He ridicules the degenerate and common minded pastorates and then again he likes the great characters and presents a model picture of him.