The Pardoner's Tale
The Tale Summary
PrologueThe tale begins when the Pardoner explains the methods he uses when he preaches. With his fake relics he explains he can do nothing for the sinners and invites the good people to buy his objects in hopes of getting them to absolve their sins. As if that would help anything. Then he stands at the pulpit in church and preaches about sin and greed ironically trying to get members to donate money to him. He is also ironically guilty about the same sin he preaches about.
In Medieval Belgium at the height of the black plague, the reader is introduced to three pretty drunken merrymen sitting in an inn and eating, drinking and "swearing oaths worthy of damnation". The three men pass the marking of a coffin and ask the servant who'd died. When he tells them that the dead man was a friend who was stabbed in the back by a thief called "Death" the men decide they must go out to murder him. Upon searching, they find an old man who's trying to exchange his youth for old age and not even Death will take it. The three then ask where they could find Death and he points to a tree (where he says Death is) and they then rush to it only to find a bag of gold coins. Before night comes, they decide to keep the gold and draw straws to see which guy is going back to get food and wine. The youngest of the three draws the shortest straw and the other two devise to kill him. The youngest goes to purchase poison which he then adds to the wine. You see where this is going. They all end up finding Death.
The Tale of the Three Brothers anyone?
Who is the Pardoner?
"Radix malorum est cupidatis" ("Love of money is the root of all evil")
What actually is a Pardoner?
Ribaldry - referring to sexual matters in an amusingly rude or irreverent way
Lechery - excessive or offensive sexual desire
Stile - an arrangement of steps that allows people but not animals to climb over a fence or wall
Rake - a fashionable or wealthy man of dissolute or promiscuous habits