Death In The Pardoner's Tale

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Geoffrey Chaucer, regarded by many as the father of english literature, has inspired many modern writers to personify death in their work after the success of his collection of short stories entitled Canterbury Tales. Chaucer was an english poet during the fourteenth century who was known for his dramatic and often ostentatious characters found throughout his stories (Pollard). Perhaps one of the most recognized short stories from Canterbury Tales goes by the name of “The Pardoner’s Tale”. The story is full of irony as it begins with a pardoner telling a story to warn against being gluttonous, while at the end the same man tries to sell fraud relics. During the story told by the pardoner, three men were determined to find and kill the man,…show more content…
When scrutinizing the time in which Chaucer lived and wrote, death was something to be avoided at all costs, because it meant having to give up one’s possessions. “men in the Middle Ages positively did not want to die, did not want to give up their possessions” (Richardson). When the three men from the story decided to kill each other in order to gain more gold for themselves, it served to further prove the lesson that death will ultimately claim all possessions. The man telling the story, the Pardoner, uses this to scare the audience into purchasing fake relics. “Indeed, this is the incentive for the Pardoner’s own Tale, that by showing his audience the punishment meted out against sinners, they will be sufficiently moved to pay him for indulgences” (Richardson). Chaucer also uses irony to assert that although the Pardoner was warning about sin, he was committing it himself. This opens to the idea that Chaucer might view the church and Christianity as the Pardoner who tells the public what is wrong, however, continues to sin themselves. This idea is strengthened by the connection between Mother Earth and death versus Virgin Mary and
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