Home Page Button Syllabus / Policies Button Composition Button Grammar Button Rhetoric Button Rhetoric Button Literature button poetry button classical button medieval button Renaissance Button Vocabulary Button


Under construction!

451 Study Questions for Chaucer's Summoner's Tale

Vocabulary: fabliaux, anti-fraternal satire, mendicant orders, friar, summoner

Useful Middle English terms: whilom (once upon a time), espiaille (spy network), degree (rank)

Lecture Questions: Why were friars and summoners and pardoners economic rivals in the Middle Ages? How is the division of the fart a parody of the holy spirit, according to a 1971 article by Alan Leviton?

Character Identifications: friar John, Thomas the rich man, the wife, the Lord, the Lord's Squire

(From "The Prologue of the Summoner's Tale," lines 1265-1300)

  • What explanation does the Summoner give for why the Friar "boasteth that he knoweth helle"?)
  • 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 Inferno).

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?




To Home Page
Copyright Dr. L. Kip Wheeler 1998-2017. Permission is granted for non-profit, educational, and student reproduction. Last updated January 5, 2017. Contact: kwheeler@cn.edu Please e-mail corrections, suggestions, or comments to help me improve this site. Click here for credits, thanks, and additional copyright information.