Chaucer’s, The Canterbury Tales, ridicule some common human frailties. Some of the frailties exposed satirize the church. Two characters whose weaknesses do such are The Pardoner and The Wife of Bath who are manipulative, selfish, and deceitful – all characteristics despised by the church. The Pardoner is manipulative in many ways. One is that he can make people believe nearly anything he says. He can get them to believe things will happen, no matter how preposterous they seem.
By speaking in Latin, and by using fancy language, he is able to convince people many things, such as if they wear a certain mitten, their grain will multiply. The Pardoner will say whatever he has to in order to make his fortune. The Wife of Bath is selfish. Everything she does is in one way or another for her own good. Three of her husbands were good and two of them were bad. The only reason the good ones are good is because they were old and rich. She wanted a husband who would be her slave. Everything that went wrong, she blamed on her husbands, even if it was her own fault.
Both The Pardoner and The Wife of Bath are deceitful in their ways. The Pardoner manages to convince people into believing almost anything he says. The Wife of Bath is basically able to seduce men and get them to marry her. The manipulative actions of The Pardoner and the selfish actions of The Wife of Bath are all deceiving to the church. The deceitful actions of both The Pardoner and The Wife of Bath were against the church. By creating these characters, and showing how people can be manipulative, selfish, and deceitful, Chaucer can reveal what kind of people existed in his time, as well as today.