Themes in The Pardoner's Tale

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  • Created by: Saoirse
  • Created on: 28-05-14 16:50
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  • Themes in The Pardoner's Tale
    • Deception
      • Pardoner never says whether the tale is true or not
      • Pardoner's life is based on deceiving people to part with their money
        • He is a habitual fraudster and enjoys the profits of these deceptions
      • Rioters deceive themselves into thinking they can kill death
      • Deceived by the old man into going where the gold awaits them
      • Bring about their own deaths by deceiving eachother
      • Pardoner's sexual identity - could be a woman/enuch/homosexual
        • Squeaky voice " a voys he hadde as small as hadde a goat"
        • Absence of a beard "no berd hadde he"
    • Corruption
      • Physical corruption and decay
        • Image of decay and corruption as a result of sin
          • "so drinketh of the white and rede...his privee" - drinking makes your throat a toilet
            • "fulfilled of dong and of corrupcioun!"
        • Decay when the peasants are scammed out of money
          • "povrest widwe/al sholde hir children sterve for famine"
        • Plague ravaged villeged described as where death has his "habitacioun"
        • Many relics are physically unpleasant and the result of death (bones) which reflects moral and spiritual corruption of the pardoner
          • 'ycrammed ful of cloutes and of bones"
      • Pardoner's inner corruption
        • Denunciates sins such as gluttony, greed and drinking yet is guilty of the exact same sins
          • Drinks a "draughte of moiste and corny ale" before telling the tale
        • Greed leads him to take advantage of the congregation and takes money to feed gluttonous want of food and drink
        • Even more corrupt because of the holy role his is supposed to play
    • Gluttony and drunkeness
      • Looked down on in those days to be greedy because resources were limited
        • Being gluttonous was insulting and directly contributed to starvation
      • "corrupt was al this world for glotonye"
    • Religion
      • The Pardoner's corrupt lifestyle is even more horrifying because of his religious position
        • He abuses religious beliefs and practices
        • Misuses biblical knowledge and allusions
          • "Radix malorum est cupioitas" is quoted wrongly
    • Avarice and the abuse of power
      • Avarice = extreme greed for wealth or material gain
      • Pardoner spends his whole life committed to avarice so very sinful
        • Chaucer exhibits very low moral view of the church
    • Death
      • Death personified was very literal and real and would invoke fear
        • "ther cam a privee theef clepth Deeth"
      • Death was very common in those times with disease, childbirth and famine being everyday causes so it is logical that death would be an underlying gothic theme


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