One More Drop of Temptation: The Pardoner's Tale

1102 WordsJan 30, 20184 Pages
The consumption of alcohol is a key component in medieval literature. Due to drinking water being scarce. It was often preferred to drink beer, “Beer often had a low alcohol content” (Unger 3). The lack of germ theory made it very simple for individuals to drink alcohol instead of water for fear of sickness. It was when an individual drank abhorrent amounts of this beer that their decision making abilities were compromised. Within the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, it is quite important to notice all the situations in which alcohol encouraged foolishness, but it also encouraged its own consumption. The Pardoner’s Tale has sparked my interest from the beginning. The sermon that the pardoner tells focuses on the sins of the tavern, those being gambling, drinking, and swearing. These three indulgences are what led them to their downfall later in the tale. This tale is one that utilizes alcohol consumption as a catalyst. The Pardoner’s Tale is a tale that utilizes alcohol consumption as a driving factor for the tale and the pardoner’s intentions are then revealed to be that they are not so different. Lines 483-484 are translated to “The bible allows me to witness that sensual pleasure is in wine and drunkenness”. Addressing wine and drunkenness as a sensual pleasure is an erotic view of alcohol in the middle ages. People were not encouraged by the church to partake in lustful vices and yet the pardoner drinks merrily along with many other members of the pilgrimage. The

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