The Pardoner's Tale Essay

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The Pardoner's Tale

The world is full of hypocrites and in the story “The Pardoner’s Tale”, Chaucer writes about a man who is living a life of sin. The Pardoner’s tale is an epologia of a pardoner who has the power from the church to forgive others for their sins but makes a living out of lying and tricking his audience. Throughout the Pardoner’s Tale he preaches about greed, drinking, blasphemy, and gambling but in the Pardoner’s Prologue he admits to committing these sins himself. The pardoner is really just a 14th century con artist who makes a living by his own hypocrisy.

In the Pardoner’s Tale the pardoner condemns people who drink and says, “Witness the Bible, which is most express/That lust is bred of wine and drunkenness”
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He comes out and admits that the only reason he preaches is to become a wealthy man, he doesn’t care about the people he preaches to but the money they produce, “And however guilty of that sin/Myself, with others I have the power to win/Them from it, I can bring them to repent; /But that is not my principle intent” (261). He cares not about helping people like a pardoner should just about his own welfare, and if he does happen to help somebody it was purely coincidental.

The pardoner does whatever it takes to get money from is listeners, which includes lying, and tricking them into buying “relics” in bottles. He sells these bottles claiming them to be some kind of miracle cure, “Where there is a pox or scab or other sore/all animals that water at that well/are cured at once…And it’s a cure for jealousy as well…” (260). He is never going to see these people again so he says whatever it takes to get their money. “That tricks been worth a hundred marks a year/since I became a pardoner, never fear” (260), he tells the people whatever they want to hear in order for them to buy into his scheme, he has no real care for the people or his job. He refers to his life as a game, because he travels to