Morality In The Pardoner's Tale

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Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Pardoner’s Tale stands to be the only tale with a clear moral. Chaucer wrote this exemplum using the Seven Deadly Sins as a basis. The Pardoner remains the most complex pilgrim in The Canterbury Tales, as he admits to committing the same sins he preaches against. Furthermore, the Pardoner admits that he does not care for the sake of the souls he claims to be saving, but instead desires only the money that is being used to purchase his merchandise. In his tale, the Pardoner falsely calls upon his Biblical knowledge in order to deceive the people and convince them of their need for absolution all for his own material gain. In the prologue to his tale, the Pardoner states that the theme of his sermons is always “Radix …show more content…
The Pardoner addresses their drunkenness first with a few stories from the Bible. He initially alludes to the story of Lot, but does so falsely. The Pardoner claims that the one at fault for the sinful act committed between Lot and his daughters is the former due to his drunken state. He vaguely alludes to Lot’s story without mentioning that it was the intent of Lot’s daughters to intoxicate their father and commit fornication without his consent, not Lot’s. Ultimately, Lot’s drunkenness had no role in the premeditated sexual relations his daughters had with him, which disproves the Pardoner’s …show more content…
He claims that Herod “ful giltless” (PardT 203) ordered the execution of John the Baptist after becoming “replest at his feeste,” (PardT 201). However, he conveniently leaves out the oath Herod took with the daughter of Herodias, the woman who caused John’s imprisonment, promising to give her whatever she desires. The woman requested “John the Baptist’s head here on a platter” (Matt 14:8). Most importantly, however, the Pardoner states that Herod did not feel guilty when, in fact, Matthew 14:9 states, “And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths…he commanded it to be given to her.” The Pardoner attempts to make Herod out to be a fiend as an after-effect of his drunkenness, but in order to do so, he had to manipulate the context of the story. The Pardoner alters these biblical stories to place the blame solely on the intoxicated individual in order to support his sermon, but by doing so, degrades his own

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