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451 Study Questions for
Chaucer's Summoner's Tale
anti-fraternal satire, mendicant orders, friar, summoner
Useful Middle English terms: whilom (once
upon a time), espiaille
(spy network), degree (rank)
Why were friars and summoners and pardoners economic
in the Middle Ages? How is the division of the fart a parody
of the holy spirit, according to a 1971 article by Alan
Character Identifications: friar
John, Thomas the rich man, the wife, the Lord,
the Lord's Squire
Prologue of the Summoner's Tale," lines
- What explanation does the Summoner
give for why the Friar "boasteth that he knoweth
- According to the Summoner, when
a friar went to hell in a vision, he could find no
friars there at first. Where were all the friars--some
twenty thousand of them--stashed away in hell?
- How is this prologue a parody or
twist of Dante's Divine Comedy? (cf. Circle IX of
The Summoner's Tale
- What is the setting for the story?
- What does the friar carry with him as he wanders
and preaches? What does his "harlot" or servant carry
with him? How does this contrast with Mattthew 10:9-10
and Luke 10:4?
- What problem does Thomas have?
- When friar John sits down, who or what does he drive
away from the most comfortable spot on the bench?