Ms. Montanino English 4 CP January 28, 2013 “The Pardoner’s Tale” Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale” discusses the story of three rioters. From the start he introduces us to the men just drinking throughout the day. He talks about how they should be aware of this serial killer called ‘Death’, but the men show great pride in not caring and deciding to go after him. In the end they are distracted by money, which leads to darker consequences. Therefore, “The Pardoner’s Tale” clearly warn readers that committing one of the seven deadly sins, inevitably, leads to committing more of them.
Chaucer first examines this idea when portraying the drunken rioter’s reaction to the adamant warning they receive concerning the murderer Death. Chaucer writes “’Is he so fierce to meet? I’ll search for him, by Jesus street… And we will kill traitor Death, I say… God’s dignity! Tonight! ’” (Chaucer L18-21). In consciously dismissing the warning and actually pleading revenge against this dangerous killer, the rioters reveal the sin of showing great pride that they can take down this killer who has reportedly killed so many.
It is obvious that their lack of humility makes them feel like they are so strong that it blinds them to their own potential danger. In addition to the sin the rioters have first committed, they commit another when they unfairly disrespect an old man. Chaucer states, “’ What, old fool? Give place! Why are you all wrapped up except your face? Why live so long? Isn’t it time to die? ’” (Chaucer L137-139). With this being said to the old man it is obvious they are showing an addition to having great pride because he is putting himself before his elder.
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In addition, he shows great wrath when he could have just kept his composure with the old man. Moreover, Chaucer examines more closely about how adamant the men are to finding Death by stating “” I heard you mention, just a moment gone, a certain traitor Death who singles out and kills the fine young fellows hereabout… Say where he is or you shall pay for it ‘” (Chaucer L174-178). With the men showing a great amount of diligence and even taking it a step further and threatening the old man they obviously only have one thing on their mind; Death.
Upon the arrival of the destination given by the old man to find the killer Death, the men are greatly distracted by a seemingly large amount of bushels of coins! Chaucer writes “’ If one could only get the gold away, back to my house, or else to yours, perhaps. For as you know, the gold is ours, chaps ‘” (Chaucer L206-208). It is obvious they have a devious plan in mind for the coins by keeping it for themselves, but coming up with a strategic plan so they don’t appear as robbers to their townspeople. ’ The one who draws the longest, lucky man, shall run to town as quickly as he can to fetch us bread and wine… While two remain hiding here to mark our heap of treasure ‘”(Chaucer L215-221). The men are clearly guilty of gluttony for wanting to indulge in more wine even though they have been drinking from the beginning of the day. In continuation with the bogus plan of equally splitting the money, Chaucer lets us in on another idea the rioters have in mind by writing “’ You know our friend has gone to get supplies and here’s a lot of gold that is to be divided equally amongst us three.
Nevertheless, if I could shape things thus so that we shared it out - the two of us… ‘” (Chaucer L232-236). The men are yet again guilty of another sin, which is greed. They don’t seem to be happy enough after finding a large sum of money already. Instead they show credence in wanting to spend the bushels of money on gambling and gratifying their lust after they carry out the plan of killing the rioter who went to get drinks. Their lack of chastity is clearly overturned by the coins they have found.
In the same fashion the third rioter has plans of having the money all to him as well. “Our common enemy, was given power to put it in his thought, and that with poison he could kill his friends” (Chaucer L257-259). It is evident that maybe all the men show the sin of being envious towards one another. For they all have gained money now, but are greedy in wanting it all, but more envious in the fact that they found it together so they think they would have to share it equally. But, they obviously don’t want it equally which is why they have all hatched plans on killing for the money.
In conclusion, Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale” begins by revealing the start of one of all the seven deadly sins and how they all fall into place after one sin is committed. All three rioters are killed at the hands of one another. They followed out the plan of stabbing the rioter who went to fetch drinks, and the youngest rioter put his plan in to action by poising the drinks that the other men ended up drinking. The story clearly warns readers that if you commit one sin it will inevitably lead to committing more. Instead of giving into the vices of the sins people should do the opposite by following the virtues.
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