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This quote reflects the greed of the Pardoner and his hypocrisy. The Pardoner is a human representation of greed. He works by abusing the people’s trust in church officials by selling false relics at outrageous prices. The Pardoner openly states that he only works for his own gain, not to help the Church. The Pardoner’s tale follows three travelers betraying each other to get as much wealth that they can.
One of the most striking aspects of the Pardoner's character is his lack of morality. He openly admits to his listeners that he is a fraud, saying "I preach but for covetise" (Chaucer 696), and he even goes so far as to boast about his dishonesty. He tells a story about how he once sold a fake relic to a gullible crowd, and then adds, "Thus spit I out my venom under hue / Of holiness, to seem holy and true" (Chaucer 723-4). This willingness to deceive others for personal gain is a hallmark of the Pardoner's character, and it reveals the depths of his depravity.
In The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the many characters, the Pardoner, takes advantage of people’s vices and ignorance, preaching against avarice, a sin which he does not feel guilty of committing. The Pardoner in The Canterbury Tales speaks of greed as “the root of all sin” and of himself as doing “Christ’s holy work”; although, he “practices” avarice himself he has no guilt of his thievery. The Pardoner deceives the towns people by falsifying professionalism by “speak[ing] a few works in Latin” and displaying his “bishop’s seal” on his “license” disguising himself as a trustworthy person.
A pardoner is a man who sells religious relics of forgiveness to sinners. However, Chaucer’s Pardoner is an untrustworthy character who sells fake tokens for a profit. He boasts of his great ability to preach, and ironically, his favorite topic is greed. “
This is ironic as the pardoner tries to get the group to give him money after telling them how it was all a scam, “My holy pardon saves you from all this:/ If you will offer nobles, sterlings, rings,/ Soome brooches, spoons or other silver things,”(906-908). While he knows that they know his faulsities he deliberately ignores this in order to try and proceed with his con. Another layer of irony in this is that he promises pureness while he himself is not pure, “If you will give. You’ll be as clean and pure/
Social status in the medieval times was a way to represent someone's dignity. It introduced certain people into society where either you were part of the high class or low class. In Chaucer's lifetime, many people were seen "different" because it was all based upon social status. High ranked people were never seen with lower ranked people because there was a huge wall that separated both social statuses. There were two places, the cheap side and the royal side, that determined the lives of a low ranked person and a high ranked person.
He does not take the measure to simply admit to additionally wanting money, rather, exploits his sole desire for wealth and fortune. This creates a situation of verbal irony, as his job consists of his preaching against greed driven by his own greed. Finally, Chaucer exemplifies the true greedy persona the Church withholds through the voice of the Pardoner stating he, “will preach and beg in sundry lands;/ I will not work and labour with my hands” (“Pardoner’s Prologue” 157-158). In case the audience was not already in light of the mask the church hides behind, the pardoner proves once his true greediness.
“All they needed was a series of impressive looking letters and a confident manner in making the appeal” (Chaucer role of pardoner).The pardoner would go on to using the same tricks on everyone they saw near them. All they did was pull out the papers with the bishop's signature and use a confident manner to impress them. When the people of the villages found out about the scamming they would just ignore the pardoner's when they saw them. The pardoner’s were looked down upon the people all over the villages and all across the land. They would just simply ignore them or just keep on walking if they happened to come across a pardoner.
He says, "I mean to have money, wool, and cheese and wheat" revealing that he actually has no intention of educating or pardoning the masses. His sole concern is swindling people out of money. This is ironic because he admits this fact about himself, but the moral of his story is that greed can lead to death. The Pardoner is an example of a man who does not practice what he preaches.
The pardoner states, “What! Do you think, as long as I can preach/ And get their silver for the things I teach./ (ln. 57-58). The pardoner is showing that he only cares about himself and is just trying to convince people to buy pardons. The pardoner ultimately wants the people to feel guilty about
The Pardoner is corrupt and he takes advantage of people and he on not shy about admitting that. “For my exclusive purpose is to win/ And not at all to castigate their sin”(Chaucer 142). The Pardoner does not care that he is corrupt. He recognizes that he has an opportunity to make some money using his church influence.
In the story, both the characters on the pilgrimage and the characters within the stories themselves display elements of church corruption. Out of all the characters on the journey, the Pardoner is the most obvious case of a corrupt member of the church. The prologue of the Pardoner illustrates his obsession with material wealth and the hypocrisy of his job. During this drunken state, he rants to the company that “Covetousness is both the root and stuff of all I preach” (p. 243) this oxymoronic phrase illustrates his corruption. Covetousness refers to one of the ten commandments; You shall not covet your neighbors
The narrator describes the friar as “that excellent limiter, the good friar” in The Friar’s Prologue. In actuality this is communicated in jest because the profession of the friar has similar faults as that of the summoner. Later the summoner tells of a friar who erases the names of donors from his tables as soon as they were out of sight. This shows that the way the system worked was corrupt. Chaucer is able to demonstrate that the medieval church was not without its own faults and sins.