Chaucer, using his illustrative prowess, created a story that portrayed the stereotypes of his time. In this we will be evaluating the Franklin's Tale and what stereotype he resembled. The Franklin was an emerging middle class in the Middle Ages. They were not of noble birth but were free men, living under the Crown with no military or service obligations. The Franklin in question has many occupations and is respectably wealthy. “…acted as chairman of the sessions, representative of the shire in Parliament , sheriff of his county, and an accountant or auditor of the local expenditure acted as chairman of the sessions, representative of the shire in Parliament (Canterbury Tales line 335), sheriff of his county,and an accountant or auditor of the local expenditure”. Today the Franklin would probably fill lower level white collar jobs.
Summary of The Franklin's Prologue
A Franklin traveled with him. He had an extremely white beard that was possibly second only to the whitest daisy. Every aspect of his character simply screamed cheery! He was quiet the wine enthusiast; every morning his beard would be dipped in wine for he was the son of Epicurus. He truly loved life and found only that plain and pure joy was true happiness. He was a warm and welcoming homeowner; he never had a shortage of good food and his cup never ran dry (for he owned a wine cellar that was nothing if not stocked). Some would say his home snowed food and drink! His estate was fine in that he kept many well fed partridges and had a fair collection of fish ponds. The only inhabitant of his house that was unhappy with such gluttonous amounts of food was the chef who would be in deep bad joo-joo if the sauces were not sharp and delectable. He knew many and had many at his household so the kitchen was always pumping out food. He was also quiet involved with his community. He acted as knight of shire, sheriff and tax auditor.
Chaucer tactfully conveyed his opinion of the characters through how he described them. He was subtle in a way but, in my opinion, Chaucer felt a sense of condescension towards the stereotypical Franklin. He displayed this through his prologue which spoke of the Franklin's gluttonous, naive personality. He also spoke of it by saying that he was a son of Epicurus (a Greek philosopher who aimed at attaining happiness through a tranquil, fearless and painless lifestyle.