Why Does the Pardoner Admit That He Is a Fraud?

Topics: Lie, Deception, Geoffrey Chaucer Pages: 2 (664 words) Published: April 17, 2011
Why Does the Pardoner Admit that He is a Fraud?

In Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer presents a collection of tales which satirize religion, addictions, and other human vices. The Pardoner from “The Pardoner’s Tale” preaches against various sins such as lechery, gluttony, falsehood, and gambling. In the midst of his preaching, the pardoner explains his deceptive nature and admits that he is a fraudulent preacher. After admitting this, he proceeds to ask these people to buy his counterfeit relics even after telling them he is a scoundrel. It is ironic that the pardoner would do such a thing; but the reason for this action lies in his need for a confession. The reason that the pardoner admits himself to be a fraud is because he feels a need to confess his shortcomings in order to gain social legitimacy. To gain this authority amongst the crowd of people, the Pardoner creates an emotional and moral appeal. In his tale, the Pardoner shares his own experiences by saying how he too was once gluttonous. He shares the negative aspects of gambling and explicates how wrong it was of him to have such an addiction. By allowing the crowd to have knowledge of his dark past, the Pardoner has made himself vulnerable. In doing so he gains respect of the people because they feel commiseration for him. This way of acquiring social acceptance establishes a psychological framework because people generally respect honesty. In the prologue, we have an account of the Pardoner who is conscious of his outward appearance. The Pardoner is so concerned about what people think of him and he wants to be accepted amid society. It makes sense that the Pardoner would confess his fraudulence and deceitfulness in order for people to feel sympathy for him. Another reason the Pardoner admits that he is a fraud is because he is equally sympathetic toward the crowd of people. He warns that gambling and avarice is immoral, so he advises them to stay clear of those things. The Pardoner has been...
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