How is the story an example of an exemplum (see the definition in the book)? What moral or lesson is it teaching to the people? What affect would this story have on a large group of people when the Pardoner is giving this speech? What would it cause them to do? How does this fit with the corruption of the Catholic church that Chaucer is commenting on from the time period?
The Pardoner's Tale is a story from around the 1300's. It supports, proves, and shows a moral lesson and therefore is an exemplum. Throughout the story we see many examples of greed, religious beliefs, and ignorance amongst the characters. The characters contradict themselves causing cases of irony. Through their actions, Chaucer tries to show how the people of that time were and what they acted like. He uses the 3 rioters to portray what a thief was and what money meant to them, and then puts the Pardoner in to show the corruption of the Catholic church and the greediness amongst people and society. If the Pardoner was giving his speech to a large group of people, he would probably instill some fear in them. The people will automatically listen to him, because they were ignorant, and only followed what was being told. They did not think outside the box, therefore this would cause them to pay the Pardoner money, so that he grants them forgiveness. This would be ironic, because the Pardoner is a religious figure in the story. He is supposed to think about the well-being of the people, but instead is trying to steal their money and bribe them into getting what he wants. Chaucer particularly used these character traits in the Pardoner to show the corruption of the Catholic Church. It teaches the people not to trust everyone, have better decision making skills(avoid being ignorant), not be greedy, and appreciate what you have in life.
"The Pardoner’s Tale" is an example of an exemplum, because it is a brief story that is used to make a point, and teach people a lesson about moral truth. As the Pardoner is reciting the story, people should deeply take it in, think about it, and learn from it. They should learn that being greedy would not benefit you. It may have its benefits in the beginning, but then it will turn around and harm you in a more severe way. As people listen to the story they should think about everything they have, and be thankful for all of it. They should even be frightened of greed, because in the story that the Pardoner says to everyone, the three greedy rioters die. They die because they all wanted the gold they found for themselves. It shows how corrupt their minds were. Chaucer believed that the Catholic Church was a corrupted organization, because he did not believe in organized religion. He is trying to show everyone how people really were during that era, religious or not. Not only were the 3 rioters greedy and corrupt, but also the Pardoner. The Pardoner was telling that story so people can give him money. He talked about greed killing the three rioters, but he is acting greedy also. Chaucer’s story shows people that they should not trust everyone to easily, appreciated everything you have, do not be greedy, and to have better judgment for people.
During the 13th century the Catholic church was the major authority in Europe. All the nations in Christendom ( sort of like the EU of the time) were under the command of the Pope. At this time in history the church had learned how to influence the common people and important leaders with religion. Much was unexplained at the time, even rain and lightning was a phenomenon to them. Every time a scientist or thinker produced a logical explanation about these "anomalies" they would be accused of heresy and burned at the stake, for that would make people question God and in turn stray away from the church. This was how the church ensured their dominance, by killing off all of the dissidents and collecting money in the name of the Lord. The "Pardoner" in "The Canterbury Tales" is only a cog in a very large machine. The "Pardoner's" job is simple; he stops from village to village, gives a sermon to a large crowd so that he can remind them that they are all in the hands of God and must repent for any sins they have done, convince them that giving money to the church is one way to repent so they would not become greedy ( Seven Deadly Sins), and then leave for another town to preach in. The church used fear as a psychological weapon in order to procure funds for their own self interests. Chaucer is trying to open the eyes of the people by writing such a risky piece of literature.
The Pardoner’s Tale is an example of an exemplum, because it is a specific example of a general lesson. The tale teaches people that greed will eventually lead to our destruction. However, while the pardoner is giving his speech he tells the people that if they feel they have been greedy or tempted by money, they should give their money to him so as not to be tempted by it. The irony is that he is preaching that money will lead to greed and destruction of one’s self, but he himself is ‘willing’ to accept their money, yet he won’t be corrupted by the greed, go figure. The people of course don’t doubt him, because he is supposedly a man of God, but they were ignorant and believed what the Catholic Church told them. The Catholic Church at the time said, if they paid for their sins then the Church as well as God would forgive them and so the Church became corrupt. Chaucer makes a very good and clear point. He opens our eyes to the corruption and ignorance and helps us create a connection with the past through his writing.
The Pardoner's Tale is a perfect example of an exemplum, because it is a mix of a symbolic yet ironic story, that teaches an important lesson. This tale shows the significance of the time period with the presentation of its characters and the events that take place, and teaches readers not to be greedy, due to how far it can drive someone to keep wanting more. On the other hand, although the pardoner is preaching about this, he along with other religious characters are extremely corrupt themselves. At the end of the story, your initial reaction to the pardoner is irony. It is ironic that he is preaching about good, but in turn for his preachings he is collecting money, which shows how greedy he is as well. Instead of being a good example and following his own advice, Chaucer presents him as a hypocrite.
An exemplum is an example or model which proves a point in a story or teaches the reader a lesson. The Pardoner’s Tale is a great example of an exemplum, because it is a short story from the 1300’s proving a point and teaching a lesson to people about greed, corruption, and the ability to trust another. In this story, the Pardoner’s preaching is very ironic; he gives directions to the three rioters in order to find the gold, but at the same he tells them to hand over the gold to him, because money will not benefit them, only destroy them. After finding the treasure, the three rioters end up killing each other, because each one wants the gold for himself. Not only are the rioters greedy for killing each other, but the Pardoner is also greedy because he wants to get the gold in return for his preaching. This is an example of the corrupt and greedy people of this era.
By reading this story, people should learn that money will not solve the problems of life. It also teaches us that it is not easy to trust an individual who has the mentality of stealing and murdering.
An exemplum is a story that teaches it's audience a moral, or lesson. "The Pardoner's Tale" fits this criteria, because as the pardoner is telling his tale on the way to the pilgrimage, he is trying to imply the lesson of being less greedy, being trustworthy, and avoiding the pressures of corruption at the time. Being told to a large group of people, this tale, would awaken people in terms of being considerate of others, realizing the wrong-doing, being more giving, thus, motivate their poor minds to gift the pardoner to forgive their sins, so death wouldn't haunt them. This fits in with the corruption of the Catholic Church, because, Chaucer deliberately used the pardoner, who he himself is greedy, to show the irony that even the religious characters or figures, sponsored by the church, are not so very humble, but very greedy and money-hungry. Being angered at the extortion of the time, of the so called "House of God", through all of the texts we've read, written by Geoffrey Chaucer, he continually jabs at the lack of honor and pride these religious figures have towards their job description.
What is an exemplum? An exemplum, is a short tale used as an example to illustrate a moral point, usually in an entertaining fashion. "The Pardoner's Tale", is a true example of an exemplum because it is indeed a short tale which illustrates the idea that greed is the root to all evil. The tale introduces us to three greedy rioters who chase a pot of gold under a tree where they will meet death. As the tale concluded, all three of the rioters had met death and lost their lives. Therefore, the treasure was left abandoned and owned by none of the three. This shows how people in general back then were corrupt and disloyal to one another.
If the Pardoner were to give this speech to a large group of people, obviously they would realize how greed is a negative characteristic commonly found in peoples' personalities. However, it is also likely that they would question themselves as to whether or not they are greedy too and wish not to end up like the rioters. Thus, they would pay the pardoner to grant them forgiveness. This completely shows how The Catholic Church too was corrupt just like the people.
The Pardoners Tale is a story of an exemplum because it informs the reader of a lesson that should be learned in life. In the Pardoners Tale we learn how three friends embark on a journey to find gold. However, this journey comes to a sudden pause when they encounter a man, which is disguised as death. This man shows the three travelers the direction to where the gold can be found. When these men reach the area, their fellowship towards each other is tested. Unfortunately they fail the test by planning each other's death so that one person benefits from the gold. However, all their plans backfire on themselves and they all end up dying . The moral lesson that can be drawn from this story is that never trust others and never want the worst for others. If you live your life in hate, envy and greed you will end up noticing those same aspects in your life. You should always be happy for others success, however you should also trust in yourself that you can do better. But, if something happens and you didn't accomplish better, you should never hate that person for doing so. The Pardoner is a cunning and a smart person. By preaching this story he knows that the people will fear money and by doing so he can ask them to hand their money to him. However, this is sort of ironic because the pardoner is teaching them that money is dangerous, yet he is asking them for their money. The reason it is labeled as one of the corrupt systems in the Catholic Church is because the Pardoner is only doing his job to get money from others. He doesn't care if people have sins that they want to get off their shoulders, he only cares about the money and people that could give it to him.