The Pardoner's Tale Analysis

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The seven deadly sins that plague us remain eminent in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The Pardoner’s Tale and the Pardoner’s Prologue capture the essences of gluttony, avarice, and pride—all subjects he preaches against. These subjects depict the truth of the instinct and demeanor of humans. Truth has no gender and has various appealing characteristics, but when used as a suggestion of one’s self, most people view it as undesirable. He knows what he preaches and the effects that it has on uneducated people, but when it comes to applying the lessons to his life he nudges his teachings aside. An analysis of the Pardoner confirms him as the embodiment of the ‘ugly truth’ about people, using what means he can to con and lie his way to the pockets of the masses.

As a church appointed Pardoner he has thrust upon him the responsibility to establish convincing examples for those who look to him for comfort and direction. Oddly enough he takes the ‘convincing’ part of the deal and runs with it. In his sermon he describes gluttony in detail, giving it the definition not just of over indulging in food or drink, but the intense pleasure of doing so. He condemns drinkers and the problems they bring forth but contradicts himself in his earlier prologue. “Now let me drink the liquor of the grape / Now as I’ve drunk a draft of corn-ripe ail” (30-34). The Pardoner admits to drinking but later preaches against it. Insincerity for the Pardoner seems to have no restrictions since he feels no remorse in making others feel guilty for things that he himself participates in. After all, this entire storytelling ordeal takes place in a bar, does it not? In his story he tells of three men on a search for death. None of whom expect to find death in the form of a heaping pile of gold, but the riches bring forth deception and greed that destroys all three. The Pardoner uses this tale to convince the other pilgrims if they too are greedy then it will bring the death of them as...
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