The Parson’s Tale and Chaucer’s Retraction

In this article will discuss The Parson’s Tale Summary & Chaucer’s Retraction in The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.

The Parson refuses to tell a fable and wishes to tell a sermon for he doesn’t like move away from the truth. His sermon is on repentance that includes three parts;

  • First Part: First, dealing with contrition, confession, and satisfaction. He refers to examples from the Bible and explains contrition and its causes at length.
  • Second Part: The second part deals with confession and explains that as to be the revelation of truth to the priest. He describes two types of sins after claiming that the sin is the ultimate product of the struggle between body and soul: venial (minor) and deadly (major sins).
  • Third Part: In the third part, he explains the seven deadly sins at length. He says pride is the trunk at the top of the tree of sins. Every other sin i.e. Ire, Envy, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony, and Lechery stem from pride. Pride is worst of the sins. Ro each sin he suggests a remedy and sets the rules for oral confession.

In the end, he describes the condition of redemption that has to do with the number of times the sin was committed, its intensity, etc. He says the redemption can only be attained by goodness and one’s surrender to Christ. The paradise is for the people who live in poverty and avoid sins.