Chaucer's "The Pardoner's Tale" Book Review by Sarah6099

Chaucer's "The Pardoner's Tale"
An analysis of the significance of the body in "The Pardoner's Prologue" and Tale" by Geoffrey Chaucer.
# 106516 | 1,763 words | 13 sources | APA | 2007 | GB
Published on Aug 07, 2008 in Literature (English) , English (Analysis)

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This paper discusses how, in "The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale", Chaucer's Pardoner is a paradox and how he systematically condemns every mentionable sin whilst simultaneously committing each and every one. In particular, the paper looks at how the Pardoner and his body are very much interconnected and how the peculiarities of his character are both grounded and reflected in the peculiarities of his body. At the same time, however, he expresses loathing towards the body. He is almost sadistic in his constant allusions to severed body parts and other violence to and with the body.

From the Paper:

"Parts of the body are referred to directly throughout the Prologue and Tale. For example, in the Pardoner's imitation of a blasphemer, '"By Goddes precious herte," and "By his nailes," / And "By the blood of Crist"' (ll. 365-6), it is parts of the body, not God as a whole, that are being sworn by. To the Pardoner, blasphemy seems to reside not simply in casual, disrespectful references to God as we know it today, but in reducing God down to a physical body. It is not difficult, therefore, to find examples of the connection between the body and sin. It is the body that makes blasphemy sinful. A similar effect takes place in part of the Pardoner's condemnation of gluttony: 'Allas, the shorte throte, the tendre mouth' (l. 231). The detailed way in which eating is described as a series of bodily sensations at different points in the Tale makes the sin of gluttony both appealing and repulsive (see Spearing, 2006, p. 86)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Burrow, J.A. (1969) Geoffrey Chaucer Middlesex: Penguin.
  • Chaucer, G. (2006) The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Chaucer, G. (2006b) 'The Portrait of the Pardoner from the General Prologue' in Chaucer The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Chaucer, G. (2006c) The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Coghill, N. (1969) 'from The Poet Chaucer', in Burrow Geoffrey Chaucer Middlesex: Penguin, 156-159.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Chaucer's "The Pardoner's Tale" (2008, August 07) Retrieved April 05, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Chaucer's "The Pardoner's Tale"" 07 August 2008. Web. 05 April. 2020. <>