The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Rowland, Beryl. "Chaucer's Idea of the Pardoner." 14 (1979): 140-54.
Critics have suggested that the Pardoner is either a homosexual or a eunuch, but the imagery with which he is associated, his appearance, and his own words indicate that he is a hermaphrodite. Hermaphrodites have historically been the focus of attention, in both society and literature. Commonly, people believed that hermaphrodites had the gift of prophecy, but at birth a hermaphrodite was considered an unfortunate monstrosity. Chaucer plays on this dualism in his portrait of the Pardoner.