The doctor is satirized because he isn’t actually doing any real healing, he’s a scam unlike good Arab doctors. He’s also in cahoots with the apothecary because he can just prescribe some drug concoction (cordial) and get a kickback of that sale from the apothecary. Just like today with how drug companies pay (influence) doctors to prescribe expensive drugs and pain killers. Things never change.
The shipman is basically a pirate. Like the lawyer who can use the law for his own gain, the shipman can just hijack someone weaker at sea, take their stuff, and make a profit (probably with a merchants help). These commonors are all connected through the web of the city and finance.
The commons: people like Chaucer. Chaucer would have had a lot of contact with merchants like the one here. This merchant is just like a salesman of today who while they might be broke, they sure look the part so as to gain your trust (get credit).
The sergeant of the law is a lawyer who abuses the system by having foreknowledge of how a case will go and so can make a profit on someone else losing their estate.
The Franklin exists in an in between category that isn’t quite the nobility (he hasn’t paid the knight tax) but is far better off than the lower classes. He’s a “gentleman”. He is a member of parliament.
The Friar has married off all those girls because he got them pregnant. Unlike the aristocratic monk, the friar is of the people (taverns). He hangs with the lower classes and they could hear confession and get a tip for doing so. What’s interesting is that even if a friar was lenient (and just wanted money) the act of confessing was strong enough as to still “count” even if the penance was paid off.
Clerical satire is basically the same as estates satire which focus on the vices, not virtues, of the church.
Though St. Francis was against it, monks could make some good money. Chaucer is showing the monk here as being materialistic and uneducated – he’s probably a second son and just wants to hunt. Hunting = Ven (capture) > venery = Veneral (Venus, sex) & Venare (hunting). This monk hunts women.
The squire is framed against his higher ranking father. The Knight is introduced as the ideal knight, whereas the squire is introduces via his looks.
The knight is already existing in a period of technical decline with the advent of cannons and the Welsh longbow. He’s also a mercenary so his ideal of truth and loyalty goes about as far as who is paying him, unlike, say Galahad and the grail.
We have a military structure / hierarchy right away with the Knight at the top, the squire (his son) below him, and the yeoman at the bottom.
This looks like the military of the day with the knight as the heavy cavalry, the squire as the light cavalry, and the yeoman as the scout. Basic army structure.
Chaucer isn’t just the author, he’s also a pilgrim in the story who is telling the story – and once we get to each tale we are getting that character’s story told through Chaucer the pilgrim written by Chaucer the author.
Estates satire is the model genre here for the knight/squire/yeoman. The vices (not virtues) of their trade is the subject of each occupation.