Deception in The Pardoner's Tale

How deception is used in Chaucers The Pardoner's Tale

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Deception in the Pardoner's Tale

The first element of deception is that the Pardoner never says of the tale is true or not. Although it doesnt matter as the pilgrims want a tale with a moral theme, and he provides that in a vivid engaging way. The tale is a variation of a well known folk tale but the Pardoner doesnt feel the need to break the mythic timeless air of his story by suggesting it may have really happened.

The Pardoner's life is based on decieving people into parting with their money.

We learn nothing about him beyond the methods as a habitual fraudster and the enjoyment of the profits of his many deceptions.

However it also appears that the Pardoner has a great sense of honesty as he openly admits he decieves people out of money.

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Deception in the Pardoner's Tale

The three strands of deception in the tale: The three men decieve themselves into believing they can kill death. They are apperantly decieved by the Old man into going where the gold lies either because the Old man is death personified or an agent of death. Finally they bring about their own death by two acts of deception against each other.

Deception was an emotive and powerful theme for Chaucer's readers. In the Middle ages being cheated by someone was a constant fear. They believed that the devil changed his apperance to cause you harm if you were not careful. People were generally suspicious of anything or anyone they didnt know.

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Lulu Robinson


Nice copying from Yorknotes there. Good work

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