Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story The Friar's Prologue

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The Friar's Prologue

  • The narrator tells us that the Friar always glares at the Summoner.
  • The Friar praises the Wife of Bath for speaking about matters that are debated in the Universities, but says that the pilgrims only need to speak about fun things, "game," and leave the preaching to the authorities.
  • The Friar promises to tell a tale about a summoner.
  • The Friar describes a summoner as someone who runs around calling people before the court for fornication (sex outside of marriage) and gets beaten at the end of every town.
  • The Host rebukes the Friar, saying that a man of his "estate," or social class, should be polite and courteous, and that, in the fellowship of pilgrims, there should be no debate. Therefore the Friar should just tell his tale, and leave the Summoner alone.
  • The Summoner tells the Host to let the Friar say whatever he wants, for when it's his turn to speak, he will top the Friar. Speaking sarcastically, the Summoner says he will tell what a great honor it is to be a Friar, and many other such crimes.
  • The Host cries for peace, and asks the Friar to tell his tale.

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