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Word Count: 936
The Pardoners Tale is arguably the finest short narrative in Geoffrey Chaucers Canterbury Tales The tale of three men that attempt to kill Death but instead die themselves is a story of exceptional intellect moral and humour These three qualities are quite unsurprising considering the actual author of these tales What is surprising though is that the character that tells this fantastic story is the Pardoner There have been many studies on Chaucers characterisation of the Pardoner most of which have concentrated on his amoral attitude or on his sexuality However in this essay a different side of the Pardoner will be explored his humour his intellect his skills and even his moralsOne work in particular stands out above from others in both its completeness and in the time of its publication Chaucers Pardoner by George Lyman Kittredge published in 1893 precludes the current outspoken post-modernist academic paradigm in which much of the study on the character of the Pardoner has centered on him as a eunuch and a homosexual Instead Kittredge examines the Pardoner as an intelligent scoundrel that experiences a internal moral dilemma during the prologue tale and epilogue Kittredges work focuses on the consistency of the character of the Pardoner First the Pardoner as a hustler is examined For myn entente is nat but for to winneAnd no thing for correction of sinneI rekke nevere whan that they been beriedThough that hir soules goon a-blakeberiedThat is as Kittredge makes note the Pardoner is only concerned with his personal financial gain He has no concern for the reformation of morals or for the truthfulness genuineness of those people attempting to repent Further evidence of the Pardoner as an immoral swindler is exemplified in his lack of concern for stealing from the poor and starvingAl were it yiven of the poorest page Or of the pooreste widwe in a village-Al sholde hir children sterve for famineIt makes no difference to him if he is
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