"The Friar's Tale"

Historical Context

Job of a Friar in Chaucer's England

Friars belonged to what was known as a "mendicant order," an order devoted to depending on charity for their food and clothing, refusing to succumb to materialism, and preaching to the poor.

Friars depended on begging for food and clothing, not money, during the Medieval period because of their vow of poverty - they were to mimic the lives of Jesus' apostles, the 12 men who were closest to Jesus before his death and who helped spread his teachings. Their main focus in life was supposed to be religion, and this vow of poverty eliminated any distractions.

Stereotypes of Friars in Chaucer's England

The following stereotypes would have existed about Friars in Chaucer's England:
  • They spent their time seducing women, taking their virginity
  • They were manipulative and cunning when it came to seeking donations

Fun Fact: Ever wonder why rabbits are associated with Easter in the spring? The phrase "mad as a March hare" comes from the crazy antics of the hare during its breeding season in March; the hare is seen as a symbol of fertility.