The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Higuchi, Masayuki. "On the Integration of the Pardoner's Tale." 22 (1987): 161-69.
Every text has an "integrator," a word, phrase, or morpheme on which it turns. In the Pardoner's Tale, "deeth" is the integrator, connecting the description of the Pardoner, the prologue to his tale, and his tale.
Khinoy, Stephan A. "Inside Chaucer's Pardoner?" 6 (1972): 255-67.
Readers may explore the Pardoner as a problem of language use and its power. By accepting Harry Bailly's proposal to tell tales as a way to pass the time while travelling, the clergy accepted a proposal which, by its nature, required them to participate in lies. Thus, when the Nun's Priest tells his tale, he requests that the pilgrims find the nut and leave the chaff as a justification for telling a tale at all. The Pardoner, however, does not fit in with the clerical tale-tellers. Instead, he presents "art for art's sake" (258). He reverses the relationship between prologue and tale in that his immoral prologue imposes on his moral sermon in order to make the pilgrims the inversion itself. The way the Pardoner tells his tale causes his audience to pay more attention to the outside (chaff) of the tale than the inside (nut). Thus, the Pardoner takes a position opposite that of Reason with regard to language. Reason asserts that divine will names things. The Pardoner suggests that names are merely human convention. Though the external appearance of the old man is uninviting, Chaucer uses him to suggest that meaning and value are not imposed, but intrinsic.
Luengo, A. "Audience and Exempla in the Pardoner's Prologue and Tale." 11 (1976): 1-10.
The Pardoner presents two different kinds of stories to the pilgrims, alternating between exempla directed towards members of the lower class and moral anecdotes directed towards the pilgrims. He indicates shifts between one type of story and another by his form of address, and carefully chooses his words and content to appeal to the more "gentil" pilgrims (5). By carefully choosing a work from John of Salisbury's Policraticus, the Pardoner shows that he believes his audience to be somewhat educated. To make his tale more palatable to his audience, the Pardoner also eliminates exclamatio and most scatological imagery.
Noll, Dolores L. "The Serpent and the Sting in the Pardoner's Prologue and Tale." 17 (1982): 159-62.
The Pardoner identifies himself with Satan through serpent imagery, and though his own relics cannot cure sheep, the Eucharist, which the Pardoner seems to reject, is the antidote for Death, the ultimate sting of Satan.