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Word Count: 921
The Pardoner and his Relics As by some strange perversion of metonymy characters in literature are often characterized by their possessions along with or rather than their words and deeds In other words those things which are closely related to a character show many of the same traits as the character himself and describing said objects may begin to substitute for a description of the actual character This method of characterization is used by Geoffrey Chaucer in his description of the Pardoner in The Canterbury Tales As readers we learn about the Pardoner not only through his conflicting words and actions but his character is further exemplified by his possessions When we first hear of the pardoner the narrator is in the process of describing each of the pilgrims The Pardoner is at once established a fake and it becomes clear that none of his relics are really what they appear to be In the general prologue the narrator says For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer Which that he saide was Oure Lady veil line 696 And Ha hadde a crois of laton ful of stones And in a glas he hadde pigges bones line 701 In other words he keeps a jar full of old rags and sells them as secondary relics in this example Marys veil and kept old pigs bones to pass off as the bones of saints Thus people would invest their money in the power of these relics and never know that theyre no more powerful than a pillowcase and animal bones While the Pardoner is never this explicit about the extent of his lies he doesnt try too hard to cover up the fact that he as not as good as he would pass himself off to be When we first hear from the pardoner he is a bit drunk and tells more than he may have otherwise
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