"The Pardoner's Tale"

Historical Context

The Job of a Pardoner in Chaucer's England

The pardoner, in Medieval society, was an official whose job it was to sell pardons and religious memorabilia. During this time period, indulgences were donations given to the church to prevent their soul from being sent to purgatory, the Christian idea of the time/space between heaven and hell.

Historically, pardoners were great preachers because it was their job to convince people to atone for their sins by paying a fee AND to purchase some type of religious relic to bring them closer to God and the church.

Corruption of the Church in Chaucer's England

Because everyone, and I mean everyone, who lived in Medieval England believed in God, the church ruled everyone's life. A large focus of the church at this time was monetary gain. Modern day "tithing," the practice of giving 10% of your income to the church, comes from the Medieval period when peasants were required to give 10% of what they earned in a year to the church because they worked on church land.

The enormous amount of power, and money, bestowed on officials of the church led to much abuse of this power and corruption in the church. With the threat of excommunication, few dared to speak against these powerful officials.

Fun Fact: The modern phrase "money is the root of all evil" is actually a misquote. The phrase "the love of money is the root of all evil," comes from the Bible verse Timothy 6:10.

Literary Devices

Exemplum: moral anecdote used to illustrate a point