Chaucer was a man of importance: when he was taken prisoner in 1359, King Edward paid an enormous ransom of £16 for his return. He was a courier in peace negotiations, related by marriage to royals and had a £20 pension and an annual butt of wine Moreover, he was a JP, a controller of Customs and Clerk of the King’s Works. He enjoyed the patronage of Edward III, Richard II and Henry IV
His work was read aloud at court and manuscripts were commissioned by the wealthy. There would be gatherings where there would be readings of the work. Chaucer writes in a courtly style with words via French from Latin e.g.: ‘mesurable, ‘habitacioun’, ‘maladye’, ‘superfluytee’. He uses such structural elements as rhyming couplets and the iambic pentameter of English poetry rather than the alliterative provincial, Anglo Saxon style of Langland and the Gawain poet where there were three stressed alliterated sounds to the line as in this example:
‘Sheer sheds the rain in showers full warm.’
The fourth stressed syllable (in this case ‘warm’) would be used for the alliterated syllables of the next line.
Contrast this with Chaucer’s rhyming pentameters:
‘Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
The Droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote’
Bibliography to all work on Chaucer on this website:
Chaucer The Pardoner’s Tale C W R D Moseley Penguin Critical Studies
Chaucer Brian Stone Penguin Critical Studies
The Pardoner’s Tale Geoffrey Lester MacMillan Master Guides
The CanterburyTales Helen Cooper OxfordGuides to Chaucer
Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales ed J J Anderson Casebook Series
Other pages (some mine) on The Pardoner’s Tale:
Very useful Study Guide giving insights into many aspects of the text, including a commentary on the significance of phrases.
Harvard’s Geoffrey Chaucer website
The world of Chaucer plus worksheets etc on some tales.
The Pardoner’s Tale as Sermon (Form)
The Pardoner’s Tale Annotated Text (first few lines)
The Pardoner’s Tale: questions
The Pardoner’s Tale: the uncanny
The Pardoner’s Tale: writing style and characterisation
You are free:
- to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
- to Remix — to adapt the work
Under the following conditions:
- Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified, as above, by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
- Noncommercial — You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
With the understanding that:
- Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.
- Public Domain — Where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.
- Other Rights — In no way are any of the following rights affected by the license:
- Notice — For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page.