The Moral Implications of the Pardoner's Tale and the Nun's Priest's T

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 241
  • Published : January 1, 2002
Open Document
Text Preview
During the Middle Ages, England was a nation in social chaos. Deception of every kind was rampart throughout the lands. Many people felt that there was a great need for moral improvement in society. In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales he clearly brings to light his thoughts and concerns of "ethical cleansing." No tale more fully expresses this idea than that of "The Pardoner's Tale" and "The Nun's Priest's Tale." "The Pardoner's Tale" suggests a profile of the Pardoner as a moral man, a man of God. The narrator is viewed as a wise, gentle, and truthful man who wants to share his story in a respectful tone. His story reveals his message, which is that greed leads to destruction and the corruption of all things good. The Pardoner appears to have beliefs that are consistent with the moral of the story. As he describes the journey of the three riders, he recognizes the evils of being greedy. "For it was utterly the man's intent/ To kill them both and never to repent"(255). He is perceived as a holy man who values truth and honesty. His tale describes the downfall in man's pride and arrogance. This is demonstrated through the irony of the three riders as they seek Death, whom they find when they plot against each other for selfish reasons and kill one another. "They fell on him and slew him, two to one…He took a bottle full of poison up/ And drank and his companion drank from it also and they both perished" (256). The Pardoner's prologue, however, reveals a man dedicated not to God and church, but rather, to the ruthless exploitation of the masses. Told in the form of a confession, the Pardoner reveals his method of preaching and manipulating his audience. "That trick's been worth a hundred marks a year/ Since I became a Pardoner, never fear…And tell a hundred lying mockeries more"(242). The epilogue of "The Pardoner's Tale" provides a final view of the teller, who is not concerned with truth or morality. Is there any good at all in the Pardoner? Even though...
tracking img