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Oxford Cleric

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Kathryn Dawson

on 3 October 2013

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Transcript of Oxford Cleric

Oxford Cleric
Question 1: Occupation
The cleric is a student and has been for quite some time.
He shows quite an interest in philosophy and theology
He spends his days reading books and not doing much else.
Question 2A: Praised or Criticized?
Chaucer is for the most part praising the cleric
He admires the fact that the cleric is more interested in the mind
Chaucer recognizes “a tone of moral virtue” (311) in the cleric's speech and says that “gladly would he learn, and gladly teach” (312).
However, there were also lines that show irony, such as “Though a philosopher.... he had not found the stone for making gold.” (301-301) and he returns the money lent to him by friends through prayers
While the line, “he was too unworldly to make search for secular employment,”( 296-297) could be read in two ways
1. more interested in studying and has no desire
2. ironic in the sense that he is only employable by the church even after all his studying
Chaucer seems to have a neutral, factual view of this pilgrim, leaning towards praise
Question 2B: Is the tone amused, serious?
The tone is mostly serious with slight irony.
Chaucer gives the reader a sincere picture of this pilgrim but shows a few flaws in an ironic way
Mostly factual descriptions with a few hints of irony.
Question 4: Which humor?
Melancholic, excess in black bile.
The cleric is a dry, cold character
It is more likely to expect a character like his to be phlegmatic because he is not excited by much, appears to be calm, and does not display actions of emotion.
There is a tone from the narrator that indicates there is an edge to the cleric that shows he is not careful, controlled , but more unsociable, quiet, and rigid (melancholic). There is something a bit mysterious about this pilgrim that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stick up, and does not portray being peaceful nor calm (phlegmatic).
Question 2C: What is Chaucer's opinion of this pilgrim?
- The narrator seems neutral about the cleric, respects his devotion to his studies
- The clerk spends time on his occupation but does not make advances with it. He is what would be referred to as a ‘professional student’.
- Recognizes that he is poor yet hardworking
- He has a generous opinion with a slightly ironic twist
Careless of Appearance
“still a student though” (289)
“One who had taken logic long ago” (290)
“By his bed he preferred having twenty books…of Aristotle’s philosophy than costly clothes, fiddle or psaltery” (297-299)
“And gladly would he learn, and gladly teach” (312)
“short, to the point, and lofty in his theme” (310)
Did not mind reading books in solitude, it was what he chose to do.
“He never spoke a word more than was need” (308)
He prays for his friends in return for the money they lend him. He's studying to become a scribe etc for someone in the church
“his horse was thinner than a rake” (291) “had a hollow look, a sober stare; the thread upon his overcoat was bare” (293-294)
Question 5: Is he realistic or idealistic?
The character is mostly realistic, however to more of an extreme than one would expect him to be.

There would have been people who lived like this.
ie. people who were fascinated with books more than they were with the world around them.

The cleric is not shown on either extreme of the spectrum, being too perfect nor being too awful, making him a completely realistic character.
Question 6: Are there any comparisons or contrasts with other pilgrims?
Question 7: Their relationship with the 7 deadly sins?
No exact sin, but if it has to be one...
The cleric's sin is avarice, because he has an obsession
with his books.

Avarice is the inordinate desire to possess more than one needs.

He has a materialistic obsession with books.
Question 8: Order of appearance? Social Status? Motive for joining the
Oxford Cleric is the eighth pilgrim to be introduced.
He has no status nor money
He does not have the status necessary to become a member of the church, however he can still be employed as a member's scribe or a similar type of employment.
A possible reason motive for joining the pilgrimage is to learn from the experience, and because he wants to go on the religious journey because he's religious.
Question 9: Modern day equivalent?
professional student.
They have no life outside of their studies.
They study for a long time but it doesn't take them anywhere.
Question 10: What genre of story?
Parson is also holy minded, glad to teach, and glad to learn.
Works Cited
The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
The friar is outgoing and open in contrast to the cleric, who certainly is not!
Monk does what makes him happy, the clerk does what is right
Yeoman is also a down-to-earth description, realistic, and professional
Genre: Religious

If the clerk were to film a movie, he would most likely film a religious documentary. It would have a lot of wisdom and moral virtue as well as his own personal ideas.
Thanks for watching!
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