Chaucer's Irony

Topics: The Canterbury Tales, The Pardoner's Tale, The Shipman's Tale Pages: 2 (856 words) Published: March 8, 2007
Chaucer's Irony
Geoffrey Chaucer uses irony as a way to convey his ideas in a more effective manner. Two stories from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that demonstrate this use of irony are "The Pardoners Tale" and "The Nun's Priest's Tale." Although these two stories are very different, they both use irony to teach a similar lesson.

The Pardoner is a hypocrite. He preaches about drunkenness, while he tells his story intoxicated. He talks about blasphemy and greed, and he attempts to sell fake religious relics and is incredibly greedy. The Pardoner uses his ties to the church to manipulate people into giving him money. His tale is an ironic narrative that speaks about human morality. In "The Pardoner's Tale" the Pardoner uses his story to speak out against many social problems, all of which he is guilty of. The tale's three main characters are three young men. They are drinking at local tavern and stumble upon the rumors of a thief named Death that began killing ruthlessly around a local village. The three men then swear to "kill this traitor Death" and made an oath to "live and die for one another." Their oath begins the theme of irony as later, these men who wished to protect each other like brothers all lay dead, being murdered by one another over the fortune they found. Though they pledged to rid death from the people, when they meet an old man, they ask why he is even bothering to live. Their pessimistic attitude contradicts their motivation to end death. The old man seems to even want Death, but it ironically takes younger souls. The old man says that death waits near a tree. After finding the money beneath a tree, the men plan to stay with it until it becomes dark when they can safely take it away. As they wait until night, they send the youngest one out to get food and wine, while they plan to kill him for his share of the money. Ironically, the youngest one is planning to kill the other two men by slipping poison into their drinks. When he returns, he is...
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