Hypocrisy Revealed in Canterbury Tales

Topics: The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Pardoner's Tale Pages: 3 (891 words) Published: November 19, 2006
In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales he reveals an underlying flaw in society. Chaucer portrays the Pardoner as hypocritical in order to get his message across to readers. The Pardoner is shown to be the exact definition of a hypocrite by preaching to others to lead a spiritual life, while not living by those preaching's himself. In Canterbury Tales, Chaucer reveals hypocritical qualities in the Pardoner through vivid characterization, tone, and morality. In the Pardoner's prologue, Chaucer describes what a swindler and model of deceit the Pardoner actually is with vivid characterization. The Pardoner is so convincing in his acts that "[i]n one short day, in money down he dr[aws]/ More than a parson in a month or two./and by his flatteries and prevarication/ Ma[kes] monkeys of the priest and congregation" (Chaucer 699-702). Although the Pardoner collects money from those who wish to be relieved of sin, he himself sins by soliciting money secretly for his own profit. This deliberate disregard for anything that does not profit him puts the Pardoner in the same category as the sinners of which he attains money from (Roberts 2). The Pardoner is deceptive in how he carries out his job (Pardoner's 1). The Pardoner claims to have expensive artifacts, and "with these relics, anytime he [finds]/ Some poor up-country parson to astound" he sells it to the naïve victim of his deception (Chaucer 697-98). The Pardoner lacks all concern for the well-being of any other person but himself. Also, while traveling, "he aim[s] at riding in the latest mode" (Chaucer 678). The traditional qualities of a pardoner would certainly not include materialism (Boenig 2). The means in which the Pardoner views what matters in the world are not religious or pious in any way and Chaucer does not only reveal this in characterization, but in tone as well. Chaucer reveals insincerity in the Pardoner through various forms of tone. Chaucer explains "[h]ow well he read[s] a lesson or [tells] a...

Cited: Boenig, Robert. "The Pardoner 's Hypocrisy and His Subjectivity." Gale Group Databases. Lugoff-Elgin High School Lib., Lugoff, SC. 23 Feb, 2006. .
Chaucer, Geoffrey. "The Canterbury Tales." Trans. Nevill Coghill. Glencoe Literature, The Reader 's Choice, British Literature. Columbus: Glencoe/McGraw Hill, 2000. 118-119.
"Pardoner 's Prologue and Tale, The." Wikipedia. 23 Feb. 2006. 24 Feb. 2006 .
Roberts, Kelly. "Do As I Say, Not As I Do." Medieval Archives. 14 Feb. 2000. Wayne State University. 24 Feb. 2006 .
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