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Analysis of Kittredge's
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Analysis of Kittredge's "Chaucer's Pardoner"
A realistic character is an important element of literary works. This "dramatic propriety" is a characteristic that many critics believe is absent in Chaucer's "The Pardoner's Tale" due to lack of believability. However, George Kittredge challenges this view in "Chaucer's Pardoner", stating that throughout the tale, the pardoner is indeed an extremely realistic and complex character.
Kittredge's defense of "The Pardoner's Tale" begins with his acknowledgement of alternative explanations for the pardoner's unusual confession. Using logic, Kittredge disproves the theory that the pardoner is "a reproduction of the False-Semblant." Chaucer was "not a reformer" or "satirist" whose goal is to reform the church. He merely wished to use different characters to tell his stories. Kittredge also mentions how the pardoner is not drunk when telling his tale, as only one draught of ale was consumed, not nearly enough to intoxicate a seasoned drinker like the pardoner. Through his reasoning, Kittredge concludes that the pardoner's foolish confession, in fact, has a purpose for the story.
While the pardoner may seem foolish to reveal his sins and hypocrisies, there is reasoning behind this madness. Kittredge points out that the pardoner is
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