At the end of the wife of Bath's narration, the Friar wonders whether such heavy academic problems concerning authority and the scriptures shouldn't be left to the proper authorities and offers to tell a tale about a summoner. The Host admonishes the Friar to tell something else, but the Summoner interrupts and says that, if the Friar tells an uncomplimentary tale about a summoner, he will in turn tell an uncomplimentary tale about a friar. The tale the Friar tells is, indeed, uncomplimentary.An archdeacon (a church official who presided over church courts) uses a crew of spies, including whores, to seek out information about the people living in the parish. With the derogatory information in hand, the archdeacon calls upon the sinners and miscreants and squeezes exorbitant tribute from them so that their names do not appear among those doing evil.
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