The relationship of the Pardoners Prologue and Tale to the medieval sermon persists as .. Chaucer's Pardoner and his theme in one of his sermons addressed. We tend to focus on the message of his tale, but it is the Pardoner's immoral behavior that changes the emphasis of the moral. Chaucer gives his reader a very. Pardoner at the end of his tale as, after having confessed, indeed bragged of, concerning hidden motives, complicated ironical relationships between the.
The Pardoner explains that he then offers many anecdotes to the "lewed [ignorant, unlearned] people". Yet, he concludes to the pilgrims, though he may be a "ful vicious man", he can tell a moral tale and proceeds. Tale[ edit ] The tale is set in Flanders at an indeterminate time, and opens with three young men drinking, gambling and blaspheming in a tavern.
The Pardoner condemns each of these "tavern sins" in turn— gluttonydrinking, gambling, and swearing—with support from the Christian scriptures, before proceeding with the tale.
The rioters hear a bell signalling a burial; their friend has been killed by a "privee theef" known as Death, who has also killed a thousand others. The men set out to avenge them and kill Death. An old man they brusquely query tells them that he has asked Death to take him but has failed. He then says they can find death at the foot of an oak tree.
When the men arrive at the tree, they find a large amount of gold coins and forget about their quest to kill Death. They decide to sleep at the oak tree overnight, so they can take the coins in the morning.
The three men draw straws to see who among them should fetch wine and food while the other two wait under the tree. The youngest of the three men draws the shortest straw and departs; while he is away, the remaining two plot to overpower and stab him upon his return.
However, the one who leaves for town plots to kill the other two: When he returns with the food and drink, the other two kill him and then consume the poisoned wine, dying slow and painful deaths. Having completed his tale, the Pardoner — forgetful of his remarks during the prologue — appeals for gold and silver so that the pilgrims may receive pardons for their sins.
The Host responds that he would sooner cut off the Pardoner's testicles than kiss his relics. At this point the Knight intervenes and urges them to make peace.
Sources and composition[ edit ] The prologue—taking the form of a literary confession—was most probably modelled on that of "Faus Semblaunt" in the medieval French poem Roman de la Rose. The Pardoner is an enigmatic character, portrayed as grotesque in the General Prologue.
He is seemingly aware of his sin—it is not clear why he tells the pilgrims about his sin in the prologue before his tale commences. His preaching is correct and the results of his methods, despite their corruption, are good. Chaucer describes him as a "draughte of corny strong ale", which arguably suggests that the character candidly speaks thanks in part to intoxication. The Pardoner's confession is similar in that there is a revelation of details buried within the prologue by "The Wife of Bath Tale".
The Wife of Bath gives away details about herself in the prologue to her particular tale. Chaucer describes The Pardoner as an excellent speaker in his portrait of the character in the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, which inherently reflects the quality of the narrative attributed to him.
The old man who appears before the rioters has been the subject of considerable debate. Many persons and scholars reference him as "death in person", "the Wandering Jew", "Old Age itself", and "Death's messenger". Owen refutes these views as he points out that "He is seeking Death; and that Death or his agent should find death is contrary to all the logic of allegory. However, critic, Alfred David, refutes such claims and asserts the possibility that the Old Man in "The Pardoner's Tale" is meant to symbolise more than unambiguous death, "the old man's identity does not admit a simple, unambiguous, and definitive answer such as Death or Death's Messenger".
The question of Chaucer's motivation in writing the tale, as well as potential social comments made within it, have been the subject of controversy concerning The Canterbury Tales. Gross, as dictated in Modern Language Studies, concludes that The Pardoner finds himself publicly shamed by the Host's reprimand at the end of the tale.
The Pardoner's Tale
There is an "undertone" of exclusion at this point in the work that, perhaps, leads to the question of the sexuality of The Pardoner and the social boundaries at hand. To reaffirm his claim, Gross points out the ridicule and "laughter" on behalf of the other pilgrims. Perhaps Chaucer is looking upon the Pardoner with a "compassionate eye", as the Host offers a kiss at the end of the tale.
According to Gross, this could simply be the poet's way of easing the tension in the room, thus a sign of "compassion" towards the embarrassment of the Pardoner on behalf of the poet. Ultimately, it is plausible that Chaucer makes a societal statement long before his time that serves as a literary teaching moment in modern time as one further examines The Canterbury Tales. To the medieval mind, this would suggest that their behaviour is also repellent and morally dubious There are heavy hints of a homosexual relationship between them and that the Pardoner is effeminate.
According to medieval thinking, homosexuality was seen as a barren and irregular relationship and this is reflected in the kind of scams these two operate. They are barren of Christian good works and working against God's order by putting their own financial gain first, ahead of their duty as representatives of the Church Their personal coarseness and lack of sober responsibility underlines the extent to which they simply don't care about other people or God The elements of outward display, show-off singing and even the desire to be fashionable in the Pardoner's portrait perhaps suggest how much he relies hypocritically on empty words and outward show.
Chaucer wants us to understand that he is a moral outcast and perhaps a sexual one too: His description comes bottom of the list in The General Prologue His profession was itinerant i.
This bellowing - louder than a trumpet - suggests an irritating, inconsiderate and loutish manner The words of the song, and the fact that the Summoner sings a harmony to it, suggest a same-sex attraction.
In the Middle Ageslong hair lying on the shoulders would normally be the hairstyle of unmarried girls. His inability to grow a beard would also be seen as suspect Regarding dress, he is said to avoid wearing his hood part of the normal rules for the dress of ecclesiastical officials because he wanted to appear fashionable.
This is a tiny detail that is typical of the way he plays fast and loose with his duties and role.
The Pardoner's Tale - Wikipedia
A duplicitous man The Pardoner's General Prologue portrait also describes his greed, avarice and deceptions. It describes his bogus relics and how much money he makes from cheating poor people into giving him money for these.
At the same time, the hypocrisy of the man is foregrounded by the information about how impressively he performs in church, motivated by the fact that such fluency in singing, preaching or telling stories will help him to gain money. The Pardoner uses people's faith to manipulate them.
There is no sign of any concern with their spiritual welfare; anything will do that gets people to pay for his false absolution. He will use the occasion as an opportunity to showcase brilliant rhetorical ability, in a fashion that will persuade his listeners to donate. Chaucer's ironic perspective Chaucer incorporates a number of apparent compliments about the Pardoner, which invite us to read them ironically: By doing this, he is engaging the reader, allowing the text to leave judgement up to us, rather than offering authorial guidance.
But he also frequently presents rogues with this sort of more obvious irony. Within The Prologue and The Tale it is clearly ironic that the Pardoner preaches on the love of money as the root of evil, while being himself motivated by such a love of money that he commits sins that include deception.
The name is significant as it was common knowledge that Rouncivale raised a good deal of its money from the sale of indulgence s, and had developed a bad reputation for its fund-raising practices.
Adding this specific reference strengthens the impression Chaucer is making, that the Pardoner is himself engaged in abusing his job of raising money via the sale of pardons. It is left unspoken whether the Pardoner is keeping back some of the money donated for himself: This was the power centre of all western Christianitybefore the Reformationto which authority all priests were subject.
A priest in the medieval church was a man ordained by the bishop and given the authority to celebrate massadminister the sacramentsand give absolution of sins.
Most priests served in a parishcaring for the local community, but monks and friars based in a monastery could also be priests. To have come from Rome would have made the Pardoner seem glamorous to ignorant people.
They would be used to hearing about papal bulls which directed how the Pope wanted the church to behave.
These were instructions for the church which came from the Pope. Chaucer's wider frame of reference Chaucer's original audience would have been more alert than we can be today to comments about topical events.
However, Chaucer's subtlety means that both they and we have to draw conclusions about whether the Pardoner is lying about Rouncivale and pardons from Rome.
Yet even if that is not the case, just the mention of these phenomena aroused a lot of contemporary disquiet. By linking a clearly avaricious, deceitful individual with the official but questionable phenomena of pardons and the Rouncivale hospital's system of donations, Chaucer provides a subtle comment on the medieval church as a whole, if the reader chooses to interpret it as such.
Investigating the Pardoner's portrait in The General Prologue Write a list of the different elements brought out in the portrait of the Pardoner. Divide the list into those aspects which: Its allusions to Rome and Rouncivale? Whether the pardons are genuinely from the Pope or forgeries? Is the writing clear or ambiguous?
Person who dispensed indulgences in return for contributions of alms in the Middle Ages. Frequently guilty of promoting abuses of the system. Someone who undertakes a journey to a holy place such as a biblical site or the shrines of the saints to seek God's help, to give thanks or as an act of penance.The Pardoner's Tale
A Christian journeying through life towards heaven. Term for a worshipping community of Christians.