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Man at Law

             (A)The Canterbury Tales is a poem that was written somewhere between 1386 and 1385 by a man named Geoffrey Chaucer; in which 30 characters on a pilgrimage to Canterbury coincidentally meet at a tavern, where they are challenged to tell the best story during their pilgrimage for the reward of a free dinner at the tavern. The poem was originally supposed be much longer than the final product, because Chaucer had intended all thirty characters to tell 4 stories, totaling 120 stories; however, he unfortunately was unable to finish. One of many interesting pilgrims contained within this story is the "man of law", also called the "sergeant of law".
             (B,C,D,G,H)As far as social standings goes, the man of law was a member of the middle class; which at that time was rapidly rising. With his profession being a lawyer, his responsibilities included acting as a judge and drawing up contracts. "He often had been Justice of Assize.There was no such conveyancer as he(lines 324 & 328)." On the surface the man of law is appears to be very admired by Chaucer; fore, he praises him for his photographic memory which enables him to know by heart every single court case and crime since the days of King William. "He knew of every judgment, case, and crime Ever recorded since King William's time(lines 333 & 334)." However, when you look into the text more in depth, you realize that Chaucer has a bit of criticism towards the lawyer. Chaucer states that the sergeant at law attempted to appear much busier to the outside world than he actually was. "Though there was nowhere one so busy as he, He was less busy than he seemed to be(lines 331 & 332)." In making his material success so obvious and detailed, Chaucer implies that the man has little to show as a human being; however, he does admire him for his intelligence. Like today, the man of law is well respected by many, and renounced by others. He was often rewarded by men of higher authority with gifts and money, and on the other hand, renounced by members of the church for his desire for self gain.

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