The Pardoner In Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Submitted By ElijahCalderon1
Words: 815
Pages: 4

The Pardoner

“But let me briefly make my purpose plain; I preach for nothing but for greed of gain” (241). In the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, the characters in his stories are depicted through detailed characterization of their professions, what they wear, how they act, and through their personalities. One such person is the Pardoner, in which Chaucer shows to be the exact definition of a hypocrite by preaching to others to lead a spiritual life, while not living by those preachings himself. During one of their story times, the Pardoner tells the travelers about how he's able to con innocent people out of their hard earned money by preaching anti-greed, drinking, and swearing. However, the Pardoner tells and shows how he himself does not believe in his own preachings.

In Canterbury Tales, the Pardoner talks about how greed, drinking, and swearing is a sin and against God's will. In the the prologue, the Pardoner begins all his sermons the same: “greed is the root of all evil.” The Pardoner tells a tale about three young men who become angry when their friend is taken by death. The three friends set out to find death when they meet an old man who talks about how death wont take him. The young men, now intrigued, ask where they can find death so that they may kill him. The old man told them about the tree and promised that they would find death there. However, when the young men fin the tree, they find them selves staring at not Death, but eight bushels of gold coins with no owner in sight. They forget about revenging their friend's death and decide that they would stay there with the gold until the cover of dark, in which they would transport the gold to one of their houses. They send the youngest back into town, in which time the others decide to kill him when he gets back and split the gold between the two of them. However the youngest decided that he would poison the other two and take the gold for himself, but when he returned later that night, the other two killed him, drank the wine (which was poisoned) and later died. The moral of the Pardoner's tale was to show, like in his sermons, that the greed is evil.

Even though the moral of the Pardoner's tale was to show how greed is bad, and how these three faithful friends (“brothers”) show their ruthlessness and hypocrisy in the end, however this can be related back to the Pardoner himself. His sermons focus completely on how greed is the root of all evil, the Pardoner himself displays that he himself is a hypocrite when it comes to greed. The Pardoner carries around these items that he claims are “holy relics,” in which he plays on innocent people by subjecting them to lies and deceit. He sells these “relics” to people by telling them that only a sinner wouldn't be interested in them, and how they have powers to heal (depending on what the story behind it is). By doing this, the