Last Updated 17 Aug 2022

Compare and Contrast Pardoner’s Tale and Wife of Bath

Category Greed, Wife
Words 600 (3 pages)
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Geoffery Chaucer wrote twenty-four tales but the most noticeable of these twenty-four tales are "The Pardoners Tale" and "The Wife Of Baths Tale". The Wife of Bath's Tale" is the more likely candidate to win against "The Pardoner's Tale" in the morality side. The reason her tale has morality is the goodness of the poor and broken. Once her story is near its end and the knight, her protagonist, is face to face with the old woman, the antagonist, the wife's message becomes clear.

The very first of her ideas is that gentleness, the most prized quality by the upper class, does not come from the class that someone is born into but rather their choices. In "The Pardoner's Tale" the pardoner sells the church's pardons to people who have sinned and seek absolution. He also preaches against sins, mostly avarice. Ironically, in the prologue to his tale, he admits being guilty of that sin and is quite proud of it. His tale is also about greed; in it, death takes three greedy men to their early graves. The more you compare and contrast them the more you realize they have in common.

Both tales scam people out of their money and status, and they both do this by appealing to others guilt. The wife of bath tells her first few husbands how badly they treated her when they were "drunk". While the pardoner gives sermons on how the root of all evil is desire, and since desire is an emotion everyone feels, everyone feels guilty of his allegations. The pardoner never really tried to validate his actions. He did give a short little speech in which he basically said that other people were scamming other people so why not him but that was it.

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The wife of bath, on the other hand, gave a huge speech on why what she did was acceptable. So the wife of the bath must have felt a little guilt because she felt like she had to defend her actions. Then the wife of bath wins on the fact that deep down she seems to be searching for something real. The pardoner may want something like that as well but he does not prove or show that he does. We can clearly see that the Pardoner and the Wife of Bath both present a criticism of the church of the time.

The Pardoner wasn’t exactly a respected position because they would guilt you into buying an artifact from them to pardon your sins. Basically the criticism here is the whole idea of pedaling fake relics and convincing sinners to buy the fake relics. The Wife of Bath presents the idea that women of the world should have the same rights, powers, and privileges as men, which was a bad idea to do back then. The way frame narrative is used here is so that the characters and the narrator is talking about isn’t directly Chaucer’s ideas.

The second thing they have in common is that they both have no problem with their way of thinking. Some people have ideas and things they want to express but they do not want to for fear. In conclusion, every one has their own view point on both tales and have different opinions. My opinion is that The Wife of Bath has a better story to tell as well as a better moral story at the end since she admits to her faults and accepts responsibility. The pardoner is self fish and rude in my eyes and also in a lot of people’s eyes.

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