critique of the church
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Chaucer has no respect for the church members on the trip. From the prioress, about whom he is relatively gentle in his criticism (she wears a "love" knot - inappropriate for one of a religious order) to his scathing criticism of the summoner (he scares children) and the pardoner (he sells fake relics and he is a "gelding or a mare" - hint of some sexual deviancy) Chaucer has no use for the clergy. The only good clergyman on the trip is the country Parson who is indeed faithful and caring for those in his parish.