Essay on Wife of Bath vs. the Pardoners

1253 Words 6 Pages
Charlotte Stern

Period 6

March 30,2012

Wife of Bath vs. The Pardoners

Geoffery Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales is an example of an extremely complicated and wondrous piece of fictional work. The main story line's plot is a contest between a diverse group of pilgrims on their way to Thomas Becket's shrine. in order to win the contest the pilgrim must tell “tales of best sentence and moost solaas,”, which means the stories must be filled with moral and entertainment to win the feast. Even though no winner was actually announced, I believe it would have been a toss up between the “Pardoner’s Tale” and the “Wife of Bath’s”.

 If it were just looking at morality, "The Wife of Bath's tale" would be a sure win. There is no way
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This wealth, according to the wife is a certain source of constant worry. This is held up by her chief rival the Pardoner.
 All of The Pardoner's Tale's strength lies within its moral which is defined in his prologue:“Radix malorum est cupiditas” (98). As this tale continues it prove that the love of money is the root of evil. The very end scene of Pardoner's Tale is everything that one needs to fear the greed of money. “Thus ended these two homicides in woe;/Died thus the treacherous poisoner also” (431-2). The reason for this scene is even more frightening: “O cursed sin, full of abominableness!/O treacherous homicide! O wickedness!/O gluttony, lechery, and hazardry!” (433-5). The sermon type ending was even more powerful then one may think due to the fact that the indtended audience was meant to be Catholic. Although morality is strong in this tale entertainment is the other half of the competition between the pilgrims.
 The Pardoner's Tale is definitely entertaining. The very first notable entertaining aspect in The Pardoner's Tale is how he relies on the three forms of poetic irony. The first form of irony that appears in his tale is verbal irony. When the three young men find the pile of gold, their leader says “For as you know, the gold is ours, chaps” (185**). There is no doubt that upon a persons second reading of this story they would be surprised to find that word "chaps" does not only mean "friends," it also is a synonym for the jaw

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