The silver-tongued Friar is a prime example of Chaucer’s satire of corrupt clergy. The Narrator hints that the Friar is a womanizer, saying that he is “beloved and familiar” with various women. This line abuts another line describing that he hears confessions. Since hearing confession is a very private spiritual act, it’s possible to read the juxtaposition of him being well-known to the women of town and hearing confession as having sexual implications. In addition, the comment that the Friar has paid the dowry for several young women hints that the Friar may have slept with these women and paid for their marriages to cover up the scandal. The Narrator also focuses on how persuasive and impressive a speaker the Friar is in his role as alms collector, describing his manner of speaking as “sweet,” and “pleasant.” The Friar employs his natural gift of persuasion to encourage people to atone for their sins by giving more money to the Friars. However, his lavish garb of fine, heavy fabric suggests where the money he collects actually goes.

The Friar picks a fight with the Summoner with his tale, which features a corrupt summoner who befriends a demon and ends up in hell. The Summoner, of course, retaliates with a tale of corrupt Friars. Some of the hatred between them may be because of their similar ways of operating. Both the Friar and the Summoner extort money from the lay people in exchange for lessening their sins. They are also both portrayed as lusty womanizers who take sex as a bribe. In a sense, the Friar attacks the Summoner and vice versa almost as if they are two con men competing for the same territory. The specific story the Friar tells focuses on the power of a curse that’s meant from the heart, which may be a direct refutation of the Summoner’s unorthodox statement that if someone pays him they needn’t fear excommunication. However, while the Friar may be less blunt about his corruption than the Summoner, his way of hearing confession is not so different.