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Essay: Did each man in The Pardoner’s Tale receive his due by the end of the story? (Argumentative Essay)

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
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  • Published: June 14, 2021*
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  • Words: 810 (approx)
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  • Tags: Argumentative essay examples
  • Did each man in The Pardoner’s Tale receive his due by the end of the story? (Argumentative Essay)
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Did each man in “The Pardoner’s Tale” receive his due by the end of the story? The Pardoner’s Tale is a story within a story, narrated by a drunken Pardoner who is telling the tale of three greedy young rioters, and their inevitable demise. The Pardoner explained who he was as a person – a preacher who sells relics as fakes – just to steal money from those who grieving, or struggling. He ironically follows this statement by emphasizing his idea that, “greed is the root of all evil”. The Pardoner is joined by many in a tavern in Belgium, where he then began to recite the legend.

Three young rioters are all looking for the embodiment of “Death” when they stumble upon gold coins, lying under a tree in a nearby groove. The young men are noticeably very greedy, and quickly establish an elaborate plan to help them steal the coins without anyone noticing. The plan sends the youngest of the men off to town, to purchase wine and bread, and return back to the oak tree with these items. While he is away, both groups of the men make their own plans on how to get more gold for themselves. The man sent to town hatches the idea to poison the other men’s wine, killing them, so he can take all the gold for himself. The rioters guarding the gold while he is away come up with the idea to simply kill their friend upon his arrival back, so they can divide the gold up between the two of them, and they won’t be forced into sharing any more gold between them than they may have wished to. When the youngest man returns to the groove with bread and poisonous wine, he is attacked by the others, and killed. The other rioters are quick to almost celebrate their once friend’s death, as they begin to eat the bread he had brought back, and they then continue to drink the wine. Within minutes, all three men were lying dead beside each other.
“Greed is the root of all evil”, fits this situation very well, and it is very ironic, especially coming from the Pardoner himself. To say the men deserved death, or they “got their due” is very harsh, but I honestly believe they did. If you wish harm or death on anyone, let alone your friend(s), just for your own personal gain, you deserve the same thing back. However, I don’t believe everyone got their due, as the Pardoner lived to tell the tale. I think in a way, the Pardoner is a worse person than the rioters, and way more twisted. He has spent most of his life selling false hope as a preacher, selling fake relics to those who looking for anything to help them out. The Pardoner went on to say that he, “…would rather take the last penny from a widow and her starving family than give up his money, and the good cheeses, breads, and wines that such income brings him.”

“By this fraud have I won me, year by year.” The Pardoner explained to everyone present at the tavern who he was at the beginning of the story, and how he has lived his whole life in a position of power, and he has done nothing but take advantage of the situation. He simply lives year by year – living off of fraud – and he seems more proud than guilty of this feat. It’s quite disgusting, and if anyone really deserved death in this tale, it is the Pardoner.

This to me just proves that the Pardoner is the most greedy of all in the tale. What really sells my point of view is the fact that after the story, the Pardoner offered the Host an opportunity to kiss the relics he earlier stated were fake. I believe the Host had the correct reaction to this situation, as he was outraged, and even offered to make a “relic of the Pardoner’s genitals.” I honestly wish the Knight wouldn’t have calmed everyone down, so the Host could take things into his own hands. I do not believe everyone in the tale received what they had coming, as the Pardoner was the worst man out of all, and he lived on. I suppose if you exclude the Pardoner, the three young rioters did in fact deserve what they had coming to them. However, I can’t ignore how bad of a person the Pardoner was, and I strongly believe he deserved a worse fate than the three rioters faced.

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