Understanding Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale

             Understanding Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale”
             “The Pardoner’s Tale” (Coghill, 1977) was written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the Middle Ages. As stated by Takami Mastuda the tale “warns against the deadly sin of avarice and teaches that spiritual death can indeed become the cause of physical death and eternal damnation” ( 313). The Pardoner tells a story dealing with death in order to get the pilgrims to buy indulgences. “ ‘The Pardoner’s Tale’ ultimately questions the efficacy of worldly prudence in the face of death. With this tale Chaucer approaches the theme of death with critical knowledge of the late medieval scheme of salvation...” (Mastuda 324).
             The tale puts considerable emphasis on the character of the Pardoner, and his personality. “The tale is a demonstration of the Pardoner’s usual tactic, in which he manipulates the readings of an orthodox exemplum for personal gain, stressing, as the tale conveys the dreadful consequence of coveting money” (Mastuda 314). A question that is often asked in regard to “The Pardoner’s Tale” is why Chaucer chose a pardoner. “Certainly, their scandalous reputation would have suggested them to Chaucer as likely candidates for any study in religious hypocrisy...” (Fletcher 118). The time period in which Chaucer wrote the tale is what mainly influenced his decision to use a pardoner. “It is well known that ill fame clung to pardoners which, when Chaucer was writing, was as much traditional as it may have been warranted in reality” (Fletcher 118). The Pardoner tries to sell fake relics to the pilgrims in exchange for the absolution of their sins. “These fakes contribute to underlying the unity of the tale about death since fakes and death are similar...” (Higuchi 166). “ The Pardoner associates himself with ‘death’ both through his lack of productivity and through his sins” (Higuchi 166). “The Pardoner was chosen for th...

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Understanding Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale. (1969, December 31). In MegaEssays.com. Retrieved 20:38, January 19, 2017, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/88909.html