This pardoner is a perverter of the mercy of G-d is in league with the Summonor, who is a perverter of justice, and sings with him. He is, ironically, spiritually dead. The General Prologue and The Pardoner’s Prologue, prepare for a devilish character who is fully revealed through his hypocritical sermonising. The unrepentant pardoner ironically induces true repentance that hepersonally despises. 41 67. A common fabliau motif is the trickster tricked: here the pardoner is tricked when the tale is read in conjunction with the General Prologue and The Pardoner’s prologue. Having previously revealed his nefarious (wicked) practices, he gets carried away with the sermon and forgets this and urges them to buy pardons – starting with the host who explodes with abuse.
In ‘The Pardoner’s Prologue’, the pardoner places avarice (‘cupiditas’) as the root of evil
‘Radix malorum est cupiditas’ (6)
To make others turn from avarice/cupidity, the desire for wealth, is the pardoner’s stated ‘principal entente.’ but he boasts of being avaricious himself. The tale is therefore highly ironic. One example: he finishes his ale before starting his story which attacks drinking and drunkenness.
Very useful Study Guide giving insights into many aspects of the text, including a commentary on the significance of phrases.
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
- This work is licensed under a Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic License. Creative Commons
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.