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In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, The Pardoner tells a story in the form of a sermon, an exemplum, to be exact.

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Introduction

The Pardoner In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, The Pardoner tells a story in the form of a sermon, an exemplum, to be exact. He intends to teach the congregation that "love of money is the root of all evil" and that "consequences of sin is death." The symbolic function of The Old Man is debatable; is he, for instance "Death's messenger", Death himself, or a satanic figure who tempts, much in the fashion of the Devil as serpent in the Adam and Ever story. The story is made even more complex and ironic by the disreputable character of the Pardoner as narrator. He is an immoral man who tells a very moral story for very immoral reasons. ...read more.

Middle

The reader is supposed to see that the money is death, and is lying at the root of the tree, which is where we begin to form the theme, "money is the root of all evil." However, the drunken rioters do not see through this and they grow greedy and kill themselves through trickery. They begin celebrating their fortune with bread and wine, however shortly after; the first two rioters and the youngest rioter begin to display devilish thoughts to gain more of the money. However the older two rioters kill the youngest because they want more money. Their journey ends when the older two rioters decide to kill the younger rioter because they want more money, however the younger rioter had already poisoned their wine to attempt to gain all the money. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some people also believe in fate, and only Death himself, would know to guide these three to what become their fate. The Pardoner as narrator is irony at it's finest. The Pardoner starts off the story by admitting that while he preaches against all kinds of sins, he himself indulges in various vices. His actions do not accord with his words. The Pardoner's main source of income comes from selling indulgences and relics that help prevent such sins as jealousy in a man, yet he claims he will not sell his relics to sinners. In The Canterbury Tales, the Pardoner is an immoral man who tells a very moral story for very immoral reasons. The Pardoner preaches what he himself is guilty of; leading to the old saying that not everyone practices what they preach. Thus giving a large amount of irony to a story that is told by an ironic person. ...read more.

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