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Pardoner's Tale

By | March 2005
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Two stories from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales that serve as excellent demonstrations of society today are "The Pardoners Tale" and "The Nun's Priest's Tale." Although these two stories are different in plot, both of them can be used to emphasize our society of crime, greed, and lies of our generation today.

In "The Pardoner's Tale," the Pardoner uses his story to speak out against many social problems, all of which he is guilty of. He preaches about drunkenness, while he is intoxicated while telling the story. Blasphemy and greed are other problems he speaks of. Also, he attempts to sell fake religious relics and is amazingly greedy himself. Yet there are also many twisted situations in the story itself. In the beginning of the story, the three rioters make a pact to "be brothers," "to each defend the others," and "to live and die for one another" in protection from death. In going out to fulfill their vows, they encounter money and end up killing each other over greed. After finding the money, the men plan to stay with it until it becomes dark when they can safely take it away. To tide themselves over until then, they send the youngest one out to get food and wine, and while he is away they plan to kill for his share of the money. While that goes on, the youngest one plans the same thing by slipping poison into the drinks of his companions. When he returns, he is attacked and stabbed to death by the other men. The remaining men drink to his death and their newfound fortune, as a result of the poison, and also their greed, die as well.

"The Nun's Priest's Tale" also has a twisted situation, the most obvious of which are the characters themselves. The story begins by the telling of an old woman who owns several farm animals, but while the woman is described as "a poor old widow" who "led a patient, simple life," the animals are described as royalty. For example, the animals had regal names and titles, yet the woman had none at all. The first example...

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