In his ancient classics, George Chaucer presents one of the themes which seemed prevalent in the early times the "greed." The Canterbury tales offer the readers an array of insight into the character of the Pardoner and at the level of greed that engulfed the whole society as mirrored in the tales. The tale depicts the Pardoner as an individual dented with moral decay and scrupulous during the prologue (Chaucer and Steve, 22). The character of the pardoner emanates from the Roman Catholic Church where one was expected to embody the real tenets of faith. Nonetheless, an irony is exemplified by the scrupulous characters of the pardoner who is crafting fake relics and sells them to the people to part with a penny from the congregation in the form of indulgences.
The exemplification of frankness portrayed by the pardoner during the prologue recounts on his confidence as she explains the ways he uses to disarm the people as he enters the church. The Pardoner is a representative of the church according to Geoffrey. He is thus authorized to navigate the congregation as hr sells the relics as well as pardons for the forgiveness of sins (Chaucer and Steve, 23). Despite being a trusted fellow to undertake the course, he wittingly keeps a portion of the receipts as exemplified in his character of being swindler and lover of money and luxury. He takes advantage of the people.
Chaucer's description about the pardoner is a bit confusing. He suggests that he must be coming from the medieval period where there was an emergence of the middle class. He is portrayed as well dressed and groomed individual but at the same time dandy because he is overly concerned about his appearance. In the general assessment, the prologue presents the narrator to have a grudging admiration of the pardoner's sales tactics.
From the pardoner's portrayal, there are enough reasons to believe the hosts if they chose not to trust the guy. In fact, Chaucer asserts that among the relics sold off by the pardoner, their jug he was carrying was full of pig bones and with them, he was able to cheat ion the poor people to fork out a two-month salary from them (Chaucer, 31). One of the characters of the Pardoner is that he is good at preaching. However, in the prologue, the pardoner tell the pilgrims that this is his means of winning money as well as berating the people for their sinful so that they can buy what he is selling to them.
Just as the Summoner's, the pardoner's portrayal throws in a question not only concerning the character but the practices that he relied on to earn a living. Both of the portraits seek to explore the things that typically happen when spiritual goods start to be seen as the only profit earning like any other commodity (Chaucer, 32). This subsequently throws in a question effect on trade upon souls of the ones who practice it. Such are times when the spiritual nourishment is used for personal gain. Geoffrey describes the Pardoner as being determined and touts his credentials in such a way that makes him look like a holy representative of the pope (Chaucer, 34). He mastered his audience so perfectly and cites scripture as well as the works of great philosophers and historical figures in proving his points.
As a means to prove that the pardoner knows his audience so well, he dares to convince and invite almost the whole company to kneel down at his feet in a semblance of taking his pardons. One of the most important things to note in the tale is the way in which the pardoner is portrayed. He is compared to gelding which creates a unique and instrumental characterization. In other terms, the gelding is equated to being eunuch a castrated male. This explains the possession of a high pitch voice as well as the lack of facial hair making the narrator to confuse the gender of the Pardoner (Sutton, 18). As others would think he is hermaphrodite when his real sex is revealed later in the tale as being a male. In all interpretation, the pardoner is seen as an aberrant. The sexual deficiency he assumes makes him be aligned with the character of moral deficiency just as it is believed that the outward image characterizes the soul.
Geoffrey in his conclusion indicts the theme of greed and jealousy which deter the church and doctrinal teachings. However, the tale is ending with the pardoner confessing his character of selling the indulgences to the people in return to gain but not as the congregation deem it initially that he represented the pope (Sutton, 21). The pardoner describes the tricks he has used in his trade work as she makes an explanation to the pilgrims that his role is always to use "greed as the root of evil." In essence, we are treated to an individual who does no labor by his hands but endeavors to live well.
Chaucer, Geoffrey, and Steve Ellis. Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales. Routledge, 2014.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales: In Its Original Form and with a Modern Translation. , 2013. Internet resource.
Sutton, Marilyn. Chaucer's Pardoner's Prologue and Tale: An Annotated Bibliography, 1900 to 1995. Toronto: Published in association with the University of Rochester by University of Toronto Press, 2000. Print.
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