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Essay on The Pardoner from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

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The Pardoner from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, The Pardoner tells a story in the form
of a sermon, an exemplum, to be exact. He intends to teach the
congregation that "love of money is the root of all evil" and that
"consequences of sin is death." The symbolic function of The Old Man
is debatable; is he, for instance "Death's messenger", Death himself,
or a satanic figure who tempts, much in the fashion of the Devil as
serpent in the Adam and Ever story. The story is made even more
complex and ironic by the disreputable character of the Pardoner as
narrator. He is an immoral man who tells a very moral story for very
immoral reasons.

The moral of the story is established through the story of the three
rioters. The three rioters are anonymous hoodlums to whom the narrator
gives no distinctive characteristics. We are introduced to these three
drunken rioters who are on a quest to find death, after their friend
dies from the plague. During their venture, we are introduced to the
irony of this tale, as each of the men agree to die for one a...


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