The Pardoners Tale

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The Pardoner's Tale: Deception and Foolishness There are several types of foolishness being described in the Pardoner's Tale itself. He describes gluttony in general, then specifically wine. He talks of gambling, taking bets and the like, and of swearing. The exemplum of his sermon describes three fools who go foolishly seeking death, then find it in a large amount of gold. Deception is another topic addressed by the Pardoner: he comes right out and says that he is a con artist, and that he is out to take people's money. In his tale, deception by the rioters leads to the death of all three. These are good points, but there is another deception the Pardoner plays, and gets caught: his sermon is a direct chastisement of the Host, who is not pleased by this. As a whole, Chaucer effectively uses this character of The Pardoner to point out some of the more foolish and deceptive aspects of other characters in the Tales as well. In the beginning, the Narrator describes The Pardoner in some quite undesirable terms. His is the characterization that comes closest to making a judgement call - in most cases, the judgement is left to the reader. Yet, I trowe he were a gelding or a mare, is hardly non-judgmental (97.693). The Narrator also spends a bit of time describing the different relics and showing the truth of what each relic really is; however, there is a point in his negative description of both the physical and moral aspects of this character. The Pardoner represents the Ugly Truth. The Knight is grand, the Wife is pretty, but the Pardoner is downright ugly. He is also the only pilgrim to acknowledge his shortcomings - he knows he is a con artist and liar, and in his tale's prologue freely admits this in both words and actions. The Pardoner then proceeds with the tale itself, which is a deception as well. In the sermon, he describes gluttony in detail, and defines it as

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