Canterbury Tales Essay
Tales written in Canterbury Tales divulge the characteristics of 31 characters, each one particularly refined in their own unique way. Geoffrey Chaucer made it easy for the reader to divulge oneself in the characteristics of just one character. One of these characters includes the Pardoner.
The Pardoner of The Canterbury Tales
How can a man exact vengeance on God if there is nothing a mortal can do to hurt Him? The Pardoner was born sterile, which resulted in abnormal physical development. He blames God for his deformities and attempts to attack God by attacking the link between God and mankind – the Church.
In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer indirectly depicts the characters through the stories they tell. The tale is a window upon the person that tells it.
A pardoner is a person that could relieve someone from their sins. In the case of the Pardoners Tale, the Pardoner expects money for relieving sinners from their sins and for telling a story. The pardoner in this tale is hypocritical, his scare tactics prove this. He says that greed over things like money is an evil thing, and his audience should give him large amounts of money so he can pardon them from their sins.
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
Canterbury Tales - The Greed of the Pardoner
Throughout literature, relationships can often be found between the author of a story and the story that he writes. In Geoffrey Chaucer's frame story, Canterbury Tales, many of the characters make this idea evident with the tales that they tell. A distinct relationship can be made between the character of the Pardoner and the tale that he tells.
Through the Prologue to the Pardoner's tale, the character of the Pardoner is revealed. Although the Pardoner displays many important traits, the most prevalent is his greed.
Analysis of Kittredge's Chaucer's Pardoner
A realistic character is an important element of literary works. This
"dramatic propriety" is a characteristic that many critics believe is
absent in Chaucer's "The Pardoner's Tale" due to lack of
believability. However, George Kittredge challenges this view in
"Chaucer's Pardoner", stating that throughout the tale, the pardoner
is indeed an extremely realistic and complex character.
Kittredge's defense of "The Pardoner's Tale" begins with his
acknowledgement of alternative explanations for the pardoner's unusual
confession. Using logic, Kittredge disproves the theory that the
pardoner is "a reproduction of the False-Semblant."
Chaucer writes, “And yet however guilty of that sin / Myself with others I have power to win” (lines 47-48). The Pardoner is pleased with himself. He sees the wrong in what he does and does not care how it affects other people. He takes all kinds of things from them, such as, clothes, jewelry, money, and takes them with a smile on his face. The Pardoner speaks, “I mean I have money, wool and cheese and wheat / Though it were given to me by the poorest lad / Or the poorest village widow, though she had / A string of starving children, all agape” (lines 66-69). The Pardoner knows some of the people cannot afford to give him money and have other more important things, for instance, families to feed, bills to pay. He sees them struggling, he recognizes that they are human beings and that is why he is so proud of himself for manipulating them. The people give him their last dime before they take care of themselves. Sparks says, “he freely admits to, even brags of…preaching only for money (138-40)--yet he says preaching against the love of money is his only theme (47-48, 139-40)” . Sparks comments that not only is the Pardoner proud of what he does, he brags about it too. This observation can show that the Pardoner is so proud of what he does that he wants everyone to
Chaucer's View of the Pardoner as a Character
In the Pardoner’s Tale, Chaucer presents the Pardoner in a particular
light, and being a religious figure, this allows him to make a general
statement about religion at the time. Chaucer’s view of the Pardoner
as a character, and also as something to epitomise religion at the
time, is evident from his use of vocabulary, his style, and by using
strong imagery and description. In this way, Chaucer builds the
character of the Pardoner as someone who is ironically deceptive and
driven by his own selfish motives.
A key theme that runs throughout the Pardoner’s Prologue is religion,
and as the Pardoner’s proper role is to act as an intercessor between
those who wish to repent and God himself, it is appropriate that
Chaucer uses a great deal of religious lexis. There are many examples
of this all through the text, such as when he mentions that the
Pardoner carries ‘Bulles of popes and cardinals’ or ‘official
documents’ signed by popes and cardinals.
The Pardoner is a very corrupt character, and one of the most memorable on the pilgrimage to Canterbury. The portrait of him in the Prologue shows him as deficient in body and depraved in soul, his physical attributes or lack thereof, a metaphor for the defiled spirit that inhabits his body. His appearance arouses not so much disgust as discomfort, a profound uneasiness, “This Pardoner had hair as yellow as wax, Hanging down smoothly like a Hank of flax...and he had bulging eyeballs like a hare”. He is a confident man, manipulating people’s gullibility, their shame, greed, superstition, etc. Like many others after him, he uses his gift to "stir the people to devotion" so that they will give their pennies, "namely unto me," as he says. Interestingly
“The Pardoner’s Tale” is from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. “The Pardoner’s Tale” is told by the Pardoner, who is very corrupt. The story has a main theme of “money is the root of all evil,” which is shown throughout the whole tale. The Pardoner’s Tale mocks aspects of religion and Christian beliefs and customs of the time.