The Canterbury Tales


The Pardoner's Tale

The Host is upset by the Physician’s tale and the death of Virginia. He turns to the Pardoner and asks the pardoner to tell a happy story. The Pardoner agrees to tell a story, but says that he is going to eat and drink first. However, the other pilgrims tell the Pardoner that they want to hear a moral story, not a farce. This is the first example of the pilgrims contradicting the Host’s call for a story. The Pardoner begins his story by introducing himself and explaining what he does. He is a Pardoner, which is someone who exchanges pardons for donations to the Church. However, the Pardoner acknowledges that he is s fraud. He talks about carrying a bag of relics, which he acknowledges are fakes. Moreover, he acknowledges pocketing the offerings made by the parishioners. He tells the pilgrims that his primary motivation in preaching is to get money, but acknowledges that he sometimes uses sermons to try to exact revenge against someone who has offended him. The Pardoner is probably more honest about himself than any of the other pilgrims, because he openly admits his vices and weaknesses.

The Pardoner’s tale focuses on three rioters, a group of three young people who spend their time partying. The Pardoner describes the various sins practiced by these people, including gluttony, drunkenness, gambling, and swearing. While drinking one day, the rioters hear a funeral bell ring. They discover that Death has come for one of their friends, and they decide to find Death and kill him, thus avenging their friend. They come upon an old man who is also seeking Death, and they ask the old man where they can find Death. The old man replies that they can find Death in a grove under an oak tree. However, when the young men go to the oak tree, they find eight bushels of gold coins under the tree, rather than death. They make a plan to keep the gold, deciding that they must carry it during the nighttime, or else be accused as thieves. They decide that they need provisions while they wait for nightfall, and the three draw lots to see who must go into town for bread and...

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Essays About The Canterbury Tales