How Sinfulness Leads to Death in the Pardoner’s Tale

Topics: Black Death, Bubonic plague, Plague Pages: 1 (432 words) Published: September 24, 2013

Songs of mourning surround the air as the funeral party past. There are bells clinking and ringing in the distant, following a coffin to the grave of a once upright man. The mood is completely different inside where three rioters “were sitting in a tavern for a drink” (Chaucer 60) and were having a jolly good time. They’d been there before the morning bell had ringed and were drunk beyond their common sense. In the Pardoner’s Tale it is sinfulness that leads people to their deaths, and this proven through the three rioters’ drunkenness, disrespectfulness, and greediness. In the Pardoner’s Tale all the characters seek out to find death. Chaucer personifies death to be a murderous human being, an evil being. “There came a privy thief, they call him Death/who kills us all round here, and in a breath” (Chaucer 72). However, in the 1300’s death was not an unordinary occurrence. During this time between the years 1348 and 1350 the Black Plague, also known as the bubonic plague struck England with a vigorous blow. In between these two periods, the plague killed close to 1.5 million people and struck at least 6 more times after the year 1350. In the Pardoner’s Tale anyone who set out to kill him or even got in close propinquity would either die or kill each other. Disregarding the warning they had received, the three rioters set out to find and kill Death. Their drunkenness prompted them to make a stupid decision. The three rioters set out on a quest to find the murderer of their friend from the old days and, “They came upon a very poor old man” (Chaucer 110). The man greeted them and began to make conversation when he was cut off and insulted by the three rioters. The three rioters made a joke of the old man saying things like, “What, old fool? Give place! /why are you all wrapped up except your face? /why live so long? Isn’t it time to die?” (Chaucer 114-116). In these lines of The Pardoner’s Tale the three rioters were being rude and disrespectful to the old man. It...
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