The Parson

Character Basics

  • Parson - priest of an independent parish church First Estate and an intellectual
    • "Wide was his parish, with houses far asunder,/Yet he neglected not in rain or thunder,/In sickness or in grief, to pay a call/On the remotest, whether great or small,/Upon his feet, and in his hand a stave. This noble example to his sheep he gave/That first he wrought, and afterwards he taught"
  • Not a worldly man
  • Not corrupt or greedy
    • "He hated cursing to extort a fee,/Nay rather preferred beyond a doubt/Giving to poor parishioners round about/Both from church offerings and his property"
  • A good example (practices what he preaches)
    • "That if gold rust, what then will iron do?/For if a priest be foul in whom we trust/No wonder that a common man should rust"
  • There is no physical description given perhaps because the character is what a parson should be ideally so one can assume he is just average and modest in dress and appearance

Words to Know

  • asunder - apart
  • stave - staff
  • wrought - worked
  • encumbered - restrained
  • scrupulosity - excessive concern with fine points of behavior


  • About 50 lines dedicated to the description of the Parson so he's somewhat important
  • Direct characterization
    • Chaucer tells about the character
    • The Parson does not say anything or interact with other characters in the prologue

More about the Parson

parson.gifexternal image shepherdstaff.jpggeoffrey-chaucer.jpgchurch1914.jpgexternal image medieval-church-in-armenia-arm005.jpg