Chaucer’s Pardoner is hypocritical, selfish and unreliable despite his tacit desire to preach and encourage others to pursue a life free of blasphemy, gluttony and materialism. The Pardoner appears to be highly familiar with the Bible and the authorities of the Church, and generally delivers convincing arguments against sin, but it is impossible for a reader to absorb his message without taking into consideration his audacious and hypocritical nature. Underlying this is the question of whether such an immoral character as the Pardoner is capable of telling a moral tale. This conflict of ideas is what renders the Pardoner such an intriguing character.
One element of the Pardoner’s Tale with moral value is the concept that ‘yiftes of Fortune and of Nature been cause of deeth to many a creature’. He describes three young rioters who discover a large amount of gold, which eventually results in their deaths. Therefore, the Pardoner is presented as having grounds to his argument and the story he tells does have a moral to it: selfishness and greed are vices ultimately punishable by death. ‘Radix malorum est Cupiditas’ serves as a motto of sorts, which the Pardoner quotes a number of times throughout the Tale, fortifying his lesson...
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The Pardoner's Tale Essay
658 Words3 Pages
The Pardoner's Tale
The world is full of hypocrites and in the story “The Pardoner’s Tale”, Chaucer writes about a man who is living a life of sin. The Pardoner’s tale is an epologia of a pardoner who has the power from the church to forgive others for their sins but makes a living out of lying and tricking his audience. Throughout the Pardoner’s Tale he preaches about greed, drinking, blasphemy, and gambling but in the Pardoner’s Prologue he admits to committing these sins himself. The pardoner is really just a 14th century con artist who makes a living by his own hypocrisy.
In the Pardoner’s Tale the pardoner condemns people who drink and says, “Witness the Bible, which is most express/That lust is bred of wine and drunkenness”…show more content…
He comes out and admits that the only reason he preaches is to become a wealthy man, he doesn’t care about the people he preaches to but the money they produce, “And however guilty of that sin/Myself, with others I have the power to win/Them from it, I can bring them to repent; /But that is not my principle intent” (261). He cares not about helping people like a pardoner should just about his own welfare, and if he does happen to help somebody it was purely coincidental.
The pardoner does whatever it takes to get money from is listeners, which includes lying, and tricking them into buying “relics” in bottles. He sells these bottles claiming them to be some kind of miracle cure, “Where there is a pox or scab or other sore/all animals that water at that well/are cured at once…And it’s a cure for jealousy as well…” (260). He is never going to see these people again so he says whatever it takes to get their money. “That tricks been worth a hundred marks a year/since I became a pardoner, never fear” (260), he tells the people whatever they want to hear in order for them to buy into his scheme, he has no real care for the people or his job. He refers to his life as a game, because he travels to