The world is full of hypocrites and in the story “The Pardoner’s Tale”, Chaucer writes about a man who is living a life of sin. The Pardoner’s tale is an ipologia of a pardoner who has the power from the church to forgive others for their sins but makes a living out of lying and tricking his audience. Throughout the Pardoner’s Tale he preaches about greed, drinking, blasphemy, and gambling but in the Pardoner’s Prologue he admits to committing these sins himself. The pardoner is really just a 14th century con artist who makes a living by his own hypocrisy.
In the Pardoner’s Tale the pardoner condemns people who drink and says, “Witness the Bible, which is most express/That lust is bred of wine and drunkenness” (263).
He denounces drinkers and the evils they create, but in his prologue he states, “No, let me drink the liquor of the grape…Now as I’ve drunk a draught of corn-ripe ale” (262).
The pardoner admits to drinking but later preaches against it, his hypocrisy knows no bounds as he makes others feel guilty for something that he himself does, after all, isn’t he telling the story while inside a bar. As a church appointed pardoner he is responsible to set a certain example for those who look to him for guidance but still he lives his greed controlled life.
The pardoner teaches about gluttony and greed, and the evils that befall it, but in his prologue he contradicts his teachings many times. In his story he tells about three men
... . The Pardoner’s point is quite obvious—his tale shows the disastrous effects of greed. The hypocrisy he has described in his Prologue becomes ... but for coveitise” (432–433). The Pardoner’s Tale is an example, a type of story often used by preachers to emphasize a ... is intriguing, for he makes no acknowledgment of his hypocrisy. Only a few lines before, in his Prologue, he exposed to the ...
who go searching for death and finding a pile of gold, in the end the gold ended up destroying them all. He taught of how their greed killed them all but in his prologue he admits to lying and making his living off greed, “But let me briefly make my purpose plain; /I preach for nothing but for greed of gain…And thus I preach against the very vice/I make my living out of – Avarice” (261).
He comes out and admits that the only reason he preaches is to become a wealthy man, he doesn’t care about the people he preaches to but the money they produce, “And however guilty of that sin/Myself, with others I have the power to win/Them from it, I can bring them to repent; /But that is not my principle intent” (261).
He cares not about helping people like a pardoner should just about his own welfare, and if he does happen to help somebody it was purely coincidental.
The pardoner does whatever it takes to get money from is listeners, which includes lying, and tricking them into buying “relics” in bottles. He sells these bottles claiming them to be some kind of miracle cure, “Where there is a pox or scab or other sore/all animals that water at that well/are cured at once…And it’s a cure for jealousy as well…” (260).
He is never going to see these people again so he says whatever it takes to get their money. “That tricks been worth a hundred marks a year/since I became a pardoner, never fear” (260), he tells the people whatever they want to hear in order for them to buy into his scheme, he has no real care for the people or his job. He refers to his life as a game, because he travels to different towns conning their money from them.
Throughout the Pardoner’s Tale and the Pardoners Prologue he contradicts himself at every new point he brings up and repeatedly mentions that he cares only about his money and not his work. He is the exact opposite a representative of the church should be and though in the bible it says, “Money is the root of all evil” that is what his entire life is based upon. Only a hypocrite and man with no morals could live a life like this.