Satire in the Pardoner's Tale
The Canterbury Tales is one of the greatest analogy of stories in English language, for its satirical language that had great impact in British society. One of the tales, the pardoner's tale, which comes after the Physician's Tale and before the Shipman's Tale, is one of the best piece of literature demonstrating the use of satire. The pardoner's tale satirizes the hypocritical pardoners who do the deeds that they themselves condemn, stupidity of drunkenness, and the consequences of being avaricious by using dramatic irony, situational irony and Juvenalian satire.
The story that the pardoner's tale begins with the pardoner telling the people about his condemning avarice while benefiting from selling relics to people. He justifies his greed by saying that he helps others stop sinning. The pardoner then begins his tale. Three young men drink, gamble and blaspheme in a tavern, committing the "tavern sins". One of the young men hears the burial bell, and the dead was one of his friends. He became angry, and asked the undertakers who killed his friend. The undertakers said that it was death that killed him and thousands of others. The drunk man then sets out an revenge to slain Death. The three meets an old man en route and asks him whether he is Death. Giving an answer "no", the old man tells them that they can find death at the foot of an oak tree. When the men arrive at the tree, bags of gold coins jumps into their view. They then forget about their quest to kill Death; instead, they decide to sleep at the oak tree over night in order to take the coins in the morning. The three men draw straws to see who among them should go back in town and get wine and food while the other two wait under the tree. The youngest of the three men draws the shortest straw and leaves. While he is away, the other two connive to hold him down and stab him when he returns. However, the one who leaves for town plots to kill the other two...
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