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The Canterbury Tales | The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale Summary & Analysis | Geoffrey Chaucer

the Pardoner's tale in The Canterbury

Tales begins with the partner describing

his preaching methods he says he puts on

a show for the purpose of manipulating

people to give money rather than any

true concern for their souls he uses the

same text each time and preachers often

about the sin of greed while living a

very greedy and selfish life after he

describes how corrupt he is he reassures

the company that he is still able to

tell a moral tale he begins his tale by

introducing the three young men who

lived in Flanders they had given into

every kind of vice including gluttony

and drunkenness sidetracking he states

that gluttony is the main cause of human

grief and misery listing several

examples from the Bible in human history

he also warns against gambling lying and

swearing in God's name the partner then

gets back to his story the young men are

drinking in a tavern and they notice a

coffin go by they learn that they used

to know the dead man he has been stabbed

in the heart by a thief called death

this same thief has killed many people

in the present plague they should be

ready to face death if they should meet

him another man adds that this thief

likely lives in a nearby town the three

young men decided to pursue the thief

and kill him in their drunken rage they

start out they meet an old man who says

he has lived a long time because death

will not take him they think the old man

knows death's whereabouts so they

threaten him eventually the old man

directs them to a tree in a nearby grove

he's seen death near they find the tree

but become distracted by coins beneath

it they believed that fortune has given

them a treasure they wait until it is

dark to sneak away with it the youngest

goes to town to get food and wine while

the other two men wait to guard the

treasure while he is away the two

conspire to kill him and take the money

for themselves but the younger man has a

similar idea and poisons two bottles of

wine when the youngest gets back he is

killed

freaking the poisoned wine the other two

also die death has indeed taken them all

after this tale the partner offers his

services to the company for a fee of

course

Harry Bailey insults him making the

partner angry the knight attempts to

make peace between them the partner is

very conscious of himself as a

storyteller he describes the various

ways he manipulates people into giving

him money the story of the three young

men is a sort of sermon illustration or

exemplar

he premises this tale by saying it is a

story he would often preach the lessons

are fairly clear sinful behavior

ultimately results in death its moral as

you reap what you sow the men's goal of

setting out to destroy death is

tantamount to blasphemy as the men

presumed to equate their own power with

that of God