Theme Of Corruption In The Canterbury Tales

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Gregory Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” is a collection of stories from the medieval times. The purpose of “The Canterbury Tales” is to satirize the corruption within the church during the medieval ages. Chaucer’s intention is to write 124 stories- four told by each of the 31 pilgrims- but only writes 24. In “The Prologue” of “The Canterbury Tale,” the scene is set and each pilgrim is described. The pilgrims are all on a journey to the Shrine at Canterbury. Many of the pilgrims were corrupt, with the exception of the ones from the lower class. However the most corrupt pilgrim is the Pardoner because he is manipulative, hypocritical, and sells fake relics. To start off, the Pardoner is a church member who is extremely respected by society, especially during the medieval ages where the church is highly influential and controls education. By holding his authority over the people, the Pardoner manipulates others into handing him their money. It is the Pardoner’s task to grant pardons and indulgences to those who have sinned. The money that Pardoner receives is supposed to go to church, but, instead, the Pardoner illicitly keeps the money for himself. The Pardoner states that he wants to …show more content…
Holy relics are astonishing to have, but they are usually possessed by the church, never by an individual. To show off his remarkable find of a relic, the Pardoner “sewed a holy relic on his cap” (Chaucer, line 705). Not only did the Pardoner commit a transgression, but he also sold fake holy relics to con others for their money. In fact, the Pardoner keeps a sack full of animal bones to sell them as holy relics: “He had a cross of metal set with stones and, in a glass, a rubble of pig’s bones. And with these relics, any time he found some poor up-country parson to astound, in one short day, in money down, he drew more than the parson in a month or two” (Chaucer, lines

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