The Opening of the Pardoner’s Tale

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At the opening of the Pardoner’s Tale, Chaucer introduces the three main characters and, by his description of them, identifies them as sinners. Also, through emotive lingual and poetic techniques, a mood is set which the rest of the tale can later develop. The Pardoner’s Tale is a sermon against the folly of cupiditas, and the opening serves well to begin that tale. The protagonists themselves, introduced near the outset as "yonge folk that haunteden folye", are clearly established as archetypal sinners as they "daunce", "pleyen at dees", "eten ... and drynken" and frequent "stywes and tavernes". They are accused of devil worship by their "superfluytee abhomynable", and their oath-making is "grisly". Each of these sins will later be specifically preached against by the Pardoner, especially gluttony ("O glotonye, ful of cursednesse!"); it seems clear that the characters are written as examples of sinners who have strayed from the path directed by the Pardoner, and will, the reader can most likely predict, come to an unfortunate end. The passage also includes much in the way...

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