Critical essays on the pardoners tale

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
  1. SparkNotes: The Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner’s Introduction, Prologue, and Tale
  2. A Critique of Geoffrey Chaucer's the Pardoner's Tale
  3. Geoffrey Chaucer
  4. Tales of Deception
  5. Geoffrey Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale

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View Full Essay. That there has been no attempt at such posturing is made clear enough by the host, the gentles, and the Pardoner himself. The host calls on the Pardoner for a merry tale; the Pardoner assents with an alacrity which warrants vehement suspicion, and the gentles protest that they want no ribaldry, and insist on something elevated and instructive. This is significant enough of the impression the Pardoner has made on his traveling companions.

The Pardoner easily adapts himself to. It is his business to know moral tales. He has his sermons by heart, and most of these, as a matter of course contain an exemplum, an anecdote which can be "improved " to the edification of a church-ful of laymen. But before beginning he feels the need of refreshment. Not that he has "to think awhile before he can recollect some decent thing," as has been suggested.

He is honestly thirsty, and glad of an excuse to quench his thirst, no doubt; but, being a man of ability and eloquence, be must have plenty of "honest things" at his tongue's end. Perhaps we have now facts enough to explain the self-revelation of the Pardoner's prologue.

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SparkNotes: The Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner’s Introduction, Prologue, and Tale

He knows what his fellow-travelers think of him; he has just consented to tell an over-facetious story; he is now about to preach a highly edifying sermon. There is no opportunity to pull wool over the eyes of his hearers, even if there were any motive for it. Sure that they will perceive the enormous discrepancy between his character and his teaching, the Pardoner is impatient of occupying the position of a futile hypocrite. He is too clever a knave to wish others to take him for a fool.

Pardoner's Tale Reader Response Assignment Explanation

Hence these cynical confessions at the outset, the dramatic purpose of which is now clear. The Pardoner is, in effect, saying to the pilgrims: "I am about to tell you a moral tale.

A Critique of Geoffrey Chaucer's the Pardoner's Tale

I am going to preach you one of my sermons. You will find the sentiments of this sermon unexceptionable. Do not think, however, that I expect you to believe me in earnest. You know what kind of fellow I am, and this is my trade. With these feelings, then, the Pardoner begins his tale or sermon. Knowing it by heart, as he tells us himself, and being accustomed to preach with great unction, he is soon rapt into the same mood of conventional earnestness that he has found so effective in the pulpit.

By the time he arrives at the ejaculations on the wickedness of sin and the horrors of homicide, gluttony, lechery, and gambling, which though marked "auctor " by the officious stupidity of some scribe form the "application " of the whole discourse, he is at a white heat of zeal.

Geoffrey Chaucer

Forgetful of his surroundings, he does not stop with the "application," but goes on to the exhortation with which he regularly concludes his harangues: Myn holy pardoun may yow alle wariee, So that ye offre nobles or sterlinges, Or elles silver broches, spones, ringes. Boweth your heed under this holy bulle! Cometh up, ye wyves, offreth of your wolle! Your name I entre heer in my rolle anon, Into the blisse of heven shul ye gon; I yow assoile, by myn heigh power, Yow that wol offre, as clene and eek as cleer As ye were born. The last four lines of this passage are particularly significant.

The Pardoner's invitation to come up and offer to the relics and receive absolution is glaringly out of place in a speech to his fellow-travelers, to whom he has already made full confession of the emptiness of his pretensions.

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Perceiving the absurdity, the speaker pulls himself up with the explanatory "This is the kind of sermon I am in the habit of delivering. So far, all is plain sailing. We might suppose the preacher carried away by professional enthusiasm, and forgetting just where he ought to have stopped. We might suppose, on the other hand, that he wished to give his hearers a.

Tales of Deception

But what shall we think of his next words? It may be that these words, apparently so out of consonance with anything we have yet heard from the Pardoner, furnish the key to his character. May we not believe that the beautiful and impressive story that he has just told -- a story that no one can read without emotion -- has moved even him, though he has told it a thousand times before in the way of his profession? The unusual circumstances under which he has preached his sermon may have assisted in producing this effect. For once, perhaps, the hideous incongruity between his preaching and the profligate invitation to come up and be pardoned through the efficacy of his trumpery relics has appeared to him.

Possibly we may venture to think that the Pardoner, moved by his own tale, went on mechanically to this professional invitation, perceived its absurd inopportuneness with a start, and thus had its hypocritical villainy suddenly projected in his own mind against the beauty and impressiveness of his tale. This would still further increase his emotion, which, after an explanatory "And lo, sirs, thus I preche," finds vent in an ejaculation profoundly affecting in its reminiscence of the Pardoner's better nature, which he had himself thought dead long ago.

Together with Shakespeare and a handful of the greater novelists in English, Chaucer carries the language further into unthinkable triumphs of the representation of reality than ought to be possible. The Pardoner and the Wife of Bath, like Hamlet and Falstaff , call into question nearly every mode of criticism that is now fashionable.

Geoffrey Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale

What sense does it make to speak of the Pardoner or the Wife of Bath as being only a structure of tropes, or to say that any tale they tell has suspended its referential aspect almost entirely? The most Chaucerian and best of all Chaucer critics, E. The extraordinary quality of the portraits is their vitality, the illusion that each gives the reader that the character being described is not a fiction but a person, so that it seems as if the poet has not created but merely recorded. An unknown error has occurred.