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The pardoners prologue and Tale show human nature to lack any redeeming virtues people are greedy, weak and hypocritical Discuss Chaucers poetic methods and concerns in the Pardoners prologue and tale in ligh

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(a) 'The pardoner's prologue and Tale show human nature to lack any redeeming virtues - people are greedy, weak and hypocritical' Discuss Chaucer's poetic methods and concerns in the Pardoner's prologue and tale in light of this comment. PLAN Pardoner - greedy, weak, hypocritical. * Pardoner's greed is emphasised throughout the whole prologue and tale --> his sermons revolve around the latin biblical phrase 'radix malorum est cupiditas' (greed is the root of all evil) yet openly admits to preaching for 'nothyng but for coveityse' - portrays him as a hypocritical character as he is not putting what he preaches into practice. * During medieval times, religion was a way of life - life after death/salvation was more important than life on earth and therefore repenting sins was a way to ensure you went to heaven - pardoner is playing on his audience's weakness/fear for his benefit - shows him as immoral and weak. --> openly admits that he 'rekke nevere/than whan they have been beryed, though that hir soules goon-a-blackberyed!' - negative imagery proves his lack of compassion * Openly admits he is guilty of avarice (which was one of the 7 deadly sins - ironic and hypocritical seeing as he's a preacher and preaches ABOUT gluttony?) ''I preche of no thyng but for coveityse'' (x2) ''myn entente is nat but for to wynn and /no thyng for the correcicioun of synne' * General prologue description of him 'I trowe he were a geldyng or a mare' --> referred to as a eunuch (castrated man) ...read more.


His greed is established from the onset as the general prologue informs the reader that the pardoner tricks pilgrims into buying relics they believe are 'the sayle that saint peter hadde' or 'our lady veyl' when in reality, they are merely nothing more than 'pigges bones'. Thus, the pardoner is portrayed as greedy from the beginning, and this is continually emphasised throughout the prologue and tale. His sermons are constructed around the Latin biblical phrase 'radix malorum est cupiditas' which translated, means 'the love of money is the root of all evil'. This depicts the pardoner as massively ironic as well as hypocritical, as he openly admits to preaching for 'nothing but for coveityse'; a phrase repeated twice in the prologue to accentuate his greed and is reinforced by 'for myn entente is nat but for to wynne and no thyng for the correcioun of synne'. Chaucer has represented human nature to lack any redeeming virtues through the pardoner, as he does not put into practice what he so regularly preaches to pilgrims. As previously mentioned, religion was fundamental in medieval lifestyle, and ensuring the route to salvation seemed more important than life on Earth. To ensure salvation, it was crucial to repent for any sins that you may be guilty of. In this sense, the pardoner can be seen as lacking any redeeming virtues as he uses this to bribe money out of innocent pilgrims. Chaucher uses distressing imagery to emphasise the depths of the pardoner's greed, stating that he will 'noon of the apostles countrefete' and will even take money from the 'povereste wydwe in village' to fund his lavish lifestyle. ...read more.


When the old man speaks to the rioters, he explains how he wishes to die, calling it a 'grace' - a distinct contrast between the men who call death a 'traytour', and how he has walked the Earth for many years as a 'resteless kaityf' waiting for Mother Nature to take him. This could suggest that he has been true to his religion throughout his life, never committing sins and therefore has not been punished by death at an early age, unlike the rioters who revel in sin and are killed relatively quickly. The contrast between the old man wanting to die, and the three young men looking to kill death, can suggest the difference in wisdom; the old man knows that his route to salvation is clear and is not afraid to pass over into Heaven, whereas the three young men who regularly sin are looking to kill death themselves to avoid going to Hell, instead of repenting for their sins. This suggests an underlying weakness of the three rioters. Although the old man may be seen as wanting to find Death, some critics argue that the old man is actually the personification of death, and therefore cannot die. Instead, he is constructed to give the three rioters the option to find death up the 'croked way', in which they will find 'eighte bushels' of 'floryns fyn of gold', give into their weaknesses, leading to death and portraying human nature to lack any redeeming virtues. Therefore, it is sufficient to say that the pardoner's prologue and tale does indeed show human nature to lack redeeming virtues, and that greed, weakness and hypocrisy are clearly illustrated through the construction of the characters. ...read more.

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