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Irony Within the Pardoner’s Tale

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Jewel Luman

Mrs. Huebbe


24 October, 2018

Irony within The Pardoner’s Tale

Geoffory Chaucer’s use of satire throughout The Canterbury Tales was intended to draw attention to the prevalent issues in society. In The Pardoner’s Tale, Chaucer exposes the irony within the works of the catholic clergy and the bastardization of the church. The reader views the Pardoner as a greedy, unremorseful, deceiving, con-man, concerned only with his financial stability. The Pardoner’s character represents the corruption of the church and Catholic clergy.

In The Pardoner’s Prologue, the Pardoner makes it clear that the purpose of his preaching was against the love of money, claiming it to be the root of all evil. Following that statement by professing that he preaches only for gain, not out of concern for the souls of people. The Pardoner quotes “And thus I preach against the very vice/I make my living out of - avarice/And yet however guilty of that sin Myself/with others I have the power to win…” (ln 85-88). This quote highlights the ironic nature of The Pardoner himself, revealing his own sinful motives, and preaching against the very vice he practices. He preaches the repentance of greed despite his own hypocrisy.

After the Pardoner concludes his hypocritical statements in response to avarice, he begins to tell The Pardoner’s Prologue. A tale of three rioters on a quest to kill death who succumb to their own greed, eventually leading to their demise. Ironically the rioters intend to kill evil, when evil is within themselves in the form of greed. In the Pardoner’s story he quotes “These three, to live and die for one another/As brother-born might swear to his born brother/And up they started in their drunken rage/And made towards this village which the page and publican had spoken of before” (ln 43-47). The rioters believe that they are on some sort of noble mission, when in

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