Sin In "The Pardoner's Tale"
There are seven deadly sins which diminish the prospect of happiness in heaven. They are called deadly because each one is linked to the other, and one can lead to another. The sins are pride, envy, anger, sloth, gluttony, avarice, and lechery. In Canterbury Tales provide a story about these sins and focus mainly on pride, greed, and gluttony. The Pardoner’s Tale in particular focuses on characters who are so overwhelmed by their ambitions and desires that they do not realize the effects of their sin, and as a result, they deprive themselves of salvation.
In the tale, gluttony is the overindulgence of food or drinks. The pardoner says that this sin corrupted the world. The first form of this sin is being drunk. Being drunk is sinful because a man loses the ability to reason and the men who became drunk would eventually engage in swearing and lechery. The pardoner claimed that this is the sin that affected Lot when he had sex with his daughters. Drunkenness was also allegedly the sin that caused Herod to order John the Baptist killed. In these examples, it was gluttony that led to incest and murder. However, the pardoner who told these stories did not practice what he preached. He stopped in his exemplum to get a drink.
The pardoner was also quite proud. He would speak in Latin in order to showcase his linguistic ability and yet he became the model for deceit and hypocrisy as he preached. He was also a bragger, who bragged about the sins he had committed. He admitted to his sinful behaviour and his immorality. He confessed his sins to those that were gathered to hear him preach. He later admitted that he was guilty of foolishness because his overall intention when preaching about sins was to win money and not to cast out any sins of the people listening.
Throughout this story it is the pardoner who portrays himself as righteous as he tries to convince others to pay for their sins but who chooses not to follow any of his teachings. He becomes angry at the end when the host makes a joke at his expense. He expresses how he wants to live in luxury and hates the poor portraying slothfulness. He has an arrogant attitude which stops him from cultivating an honest relationship with anyone. And in the end it is pride which drives him to commit envy.
1. Using Chaucer's Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, describe the rising middle class of fourteenth-century England. In the essay, include the variety of occupations, the degree of wealth, the level of education, and the beginnings of political power represented among the pilgrims.
2. Contrast a corrupt clergyman from the Prologue with the Parson.
3. Select three characters from the Prologue whom Chaucer seems to be satirizing (i.e., the Wife of Bath, the Summoner, the Prioress). Using some direct quotations, explain the satire.
The Knight's Tale
1. Explain the features of this tale which characterize it as a romance.
2. An "anachronism" is a literary "slip" in which the author inserts something into a work which could not have happened or which could not have existed at the time the work is set. Explain the anachronism in The Knight's Tale.
The Miller's Tale
1. Contrast The Knight's Tale with The Miller's Tale.
2. Fully describe the character Absalom.
The Reeve's Tale
1. Explain how The Miller's Tale and The Reeve's Tale might be said to reveal a situation that medieval men really deplored and dreaded.
2. What might surprise the modern reader about the language surrounding sexual activity in The Miller's and The Reeve's Tales?
The Man of Law's Tale
1. Describe what commentary about marriage seems to be made through this tale.
2. Name one element of the story that is drawn from each of the narrative types that Chaucer utilized for this tale.
The Shipman's Tale
1. Of the six tales told thus far, including the Cook's fragment, four have been fabliaux. What is the significance of the large number of fabliaux?
2. Discuss the two contrasting...
(The entire section is 799 words.)