Recognizing themes in “The Pardoner’s Tale”
The Pardoner’s Tale was written by Geoffrey Chaucer. It’s a narrative poem that describes the character of the pardoner. He describes his character by using different literary themes. The Pardoner is described through a use of symbolism, irony and personification. This tale uses symbolism in many different ways. In one way that I saw symbolism in the story is was through the coffin. The coffin symbolized that there would be death later on in the tale. A sentence from the poem that supports my thought was when Chaucer said “And as they sat, they heard the hand-bell clink, before a coffin going to a grave” (“The Pardoner’s Tale.”, 130). Also in the story Reiff saw symbolism when Chaucer used the capouns. Reiff states that “Chaucer probably used capouns for two reasons: one is for realism… and one is for symbolism…” (Reiff 1). Therefore Chaucer used many different things as a symbolism in the tale. In addition to using symbolism as a theme Chaucer also used irony. He used both situational and verbal irony in the tale but the irony I choose was situational irony. Situational irony is when something happens that you don’t expect to happen. An example from the tale that helped me to point out situational irony was all three men ended up dead at the end of the tale. The quote that helped me to draw this conclusion was at the end of the story I read “Exactly in the way they’d planned his death… They perished both”( The Pardoner’s Tale , 135). Basically at first the tale told of how two of the men planned on killing the other men. Similarly to that the one they planned on killing planned to kill them. As well as the two men went on to kill the first man, the deceased man plan also succeeded and they all ended up dead in the end. Last but not least the last theme that I’ve chosen that Chaucer used was personification. Personification is when you give animals or things of nature human characteristics. In the way that I saw...
Cited: Reiff, Raychel Haugrud. “Chaucer’s The Pardoner’s Tale, 855-58.” Explicator 57.4 (1994) . 195 Literary Reference Center.Web.5 Feb. 2013
“The Pardoner 's Tale." Trans. Array Elements of Literature Sixth Course. Nevill Coghill. Sixth Course. Austin: Harcourt Brace & Company, 129-136. Print.
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