Essay, Research Paper: Pardonerís Tale

Literature: Geoffrey Chaucer

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Love and betrayal are two major themes that appeared often in the works selected
for this semesters reading. A theme that is seen in both the story of Joseph and
Chaucerís The Pardonerís Tale is betrayal with a blend of greed and
selfishness. The story of Joseph involved a boy named Joseph and his brothers.
Joseph appeared to be his fatherís favorite and always treated him the best.
Josephís brothers seemed to be angry and mad at the fact that he was getting
all the attention and so they plotted a scheme to get rid of Joseph by killing
him. Rather than killing Joseph, they sought profit in him. The brothers acted
selfishly and so they betray him by selling him to the Ishmeelites for twenty
pieces of silver. The Pardonerís Tale is a good example of a story containing
these elements. In this story, readers see a group of rioters at a local tavern
inn drinking and having a good time. As they look behind them they see a coffin
being carried away. The rioters soon find out that it the person in the coffin
was a very good friend of theirs. As sad and angry as they are, they set off to
find out who has killed their companion. An old man directs the three rioters to
a tree down the road and tells them that Death killed their friend. The rioters
set out to find Death and kill him in revenge. When they reach the tree, they
spot a treasure. They decide to wait until dark to take the findings. While they
all wait, one rioter decided to go to town to get them all food. This rioter
comes up with an idea that he should kill the other two men and take the
treasure for himself. The other two rioters think likewise. They devise a plan
to kill the other friend and split the treasure in two parts instead of three.
As it is seen in the story of Joseph, his brothers betray him. Because they are
jealous of Joseph, their own flesh and blood, they acted selfish and greedy.
They wanted to kill him, but selling him for money would benefit them more. The
rioters acted similarly. They are all friends who set out on a mission. Once
money is brought into the picture, everyone has different feelings. They all
plot to kill one another and betray each other because they want a bigger share
of the profit. In this case, everyone ends up dead. The one sent to town decides
to put poison in the drinks and the rioters left by the tree plot to stab him.
When they finally do stab him, they think they are home free. They continue to
feast and when they drink they too end up dead. In this case no one was
successful. Everyone ends up with nothing. Their greed led them to their death.
Unlike the rioters, the betrayal of Joseph by his brothers benefited him in the
long run. He ends up interpreting dreams for the Pharaoh of Egypt. The
Pardonerís Tale is a good work to incorporate into the syllabus because it
teaches a valuable lesson about the relationship of friends and what limits
friends go to in order to betray each other. Greed and jealousy are key elements
that make someone betray another person. An example of what people are usually
greedy about is money. Money is a materialistic item in which everyone wants.
When given the right opportunity, one will do anything for it even if it means
betraying friends or especially family members. A question that this story
raises is How far will people go in order to make themselves happy? In this case
the rioters went a far as they possibly could. They plotted to kill each other
for something that was not even rightfully theirs. If they had not found the
treasure, they would of still been alive. The Pardonerís Tale can easily be
connected to the course assignments because although there is betrayal, there is
an element of love in it also. Although it is not easily seen, love is shown.
The rioters showed love and compassion when they found out that their friend had
died. At once they got together to find the person that had killed him. If they
did not love or care about this person they would not have even bothered to ask
who had gotten killed. This story contradicts the story of Joseph somewhat
because although they are very similar they are also different. At the end of
the story, Joseph is reunited with his betrayers. He reunites with his brothers
and they all forgive one another. This also shows an element of love. They all
decide that it is not worth remembering the bad times but to start with the
present. The rioters cannot do this because they are dead. This story also
contradicts the theme of love and betrayal because a pardoner is thought of one
who forgives and helps people with things. They preach and tell stories of good
things that happen. In the Canterbury Tales, the Pardoner is looked at as the
total opposite. His stories involve murders, stealing and even drinking. The
Pardonerís Tale is a good story to add to the curriculum. It teaches the
importance of knowing right from wrong. It is a good tale to continue with if
one is reading The Canterbury Tales. One can learn how money makes people not
care about anything else. It usually leads to hurting the people they love and
sometimes ends up in death.
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