Essay about The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Chaucer's Pardoner is unique within the group travelling to Canterbury. While the Parson, the Wife of Bath, the Clerk, and others would love to sway the group toward their respective opinions and views, the Pardoner intends to swindle the group out of its money. His sermons are based on sound theology, but they are rendered hollow by his complete lack of integrity in applying them to his own life. He is a hypocrite - his root intention is to accrue money. Curiously, the Pardoner is openly honest about the nature of his operations. The portrait of the Pardoner in the "General Prologue" gives an overture to this character by stating simply what he does. He targets simple (often
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The Pardoner's tale becomes a microcosm of the Canterbury Tales itself: an attempt to find a holy, didactic message within entertainment and baseness. Further analysis of the Pardoner himself leads to the question of whether there is any good within him. The Pardoner makes it extremely clear to the group (and, incidentally, to us as readers) exactly how he swindles common people. He then goes on to attempt the same actions against them after telling his tale, a seemingly absurd act. Chaucer isn't simply being sloppy here in trying to convey the Pardoner's nature to us as readers - if Chaucer didn't want the travelers to know how the Pardoner works, then he would have told us more discreetly. There must be some reason for the Pardoner's indiscretion. Even while under the influence (however great or small) of alcohol, he wouldn't tell the group what he does unless he wanted to. It remains, then, to explore further the Pardoner's character and the reasons for his actions. I stated earlier that the Pardoner's root intention is to accrue money. This is the account that he offers himself. The Pardoner's lack of discretion, however, negates this root drive. If he only wants money, then his presence in the pilgrimage is exclusively for swindling the others. He would not have complicated that goal by revealing his art - which he does. This revealing, then, might be explained as a perverse game or challenge to his skills as a con artist. Perhaps the
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