An analysis of pardoner in chaucers the canterbury tales

The pardoners tale characters

It is not hard to imagine that Chaucer would be vastly satisfied and amused to discover that his dastardly Pardoner is still the object of intimate introspection and contestable academic study over half a millennia after he penned the narrative of his pilgrims, and their tales, on their way to Canterbury. Therefore, the Sacraments were still largely considered, as explained by St. Augustine, "outward and visible signs of an inward and invisible grace". The reader must ask why the Pardoner is placed at the very end of the descending order. Pardoners were known to exaggerate the efficacy of their indulgences and claimed the authority to promise deliverance not just from purgatory, but from hell itself. In Canterbury Tales, Chaucer reveals hypocritical qualities in the Pardoner through vivid characterization, tone, and morality. The invitation for the Pardoner to tell a tale comes after the Host declares his dissatisfaction with the depressing tale, and declares: … but [unless] I have triacle [medicine], Or elles a draughte of moyste [fresh] and corny [strong] ale, Or but I heere anon a myrie tale, Myn herte is lost for pitee of this mayde. His profession is somewhat dubious—pardoners offered indulgences, or previously written pardons for particular sins, to people who repented of the sin they had committed. Chaucer portrays the Pardoner as hypocritical in order to get his message across to readers. Consequently, in the hierarchy of the medieval church, the Pardoner and his sin are especially heinous. Eventually plenary indulgences required purchasers neither to repent, nor to amend their lives in order to receive complete absolution from sin, causing pardoners to become scrutinized in life and satirized in popular literature.

Chaucer portrays the Pardoner as hypocritical in order to get his message across to readers. Tellingly, he initially struggles to come up with a suitable exemplum for his travel companions.

He writes: "The kneeling posture to which the Pardoner summons the pilgrims would place their noses right before his deficient crotch.

Instead the pilgrims ask the Pardoner for a moral tale. Eugene Vance illustrates one parallel effectively fostered by Chaucer's sexual innuendos. An old man they brusquely query tells them that he has asked Death to take him but has failed.

He goes on to relate how he stands like a clergy at the pulpitand preaches against avarice but to gain the congregation's money; he doesn't care for the correction of sin or for their souls.

Along with receiving the indulgence, the penitent would make a donation to the Church by giving money to the pardoner.

the pardoners tale setting

The next year was a great time in any mans life, Chaucer had his son Thomas.

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The Pardoner's Tale