The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Beidler, Peter G. "Noah and the Old Man in the Pardoner's Tale." 15 (1981): 250-54.
The plague background of the Pardoner's Tale suggests that the old man was a Noah-figure to Chaucer's audienc--the good survivor of a purifying destruction.
Beidler, Peter G. "The Plague and Chaucer's Pardoner." 16 (1982): 257-69.
Reading the Pardoner's Tale in light of the plague deepens readers' understanding of the tale. The three rioters of the tale enjoy themselves in the tavern as did those who historically survived the plague. The treasure appears under the tree because it had belonged to a victim of the plague, and the old man is a survivor of the plague from a nearby village. Boccaccio's Decameron provides useful contemporary evidence about medieval attitudes toward the plague. A plague setting allows the Pardoner to suggest that money is corrupt and that all humans must be prepared to die. The Host responds angrily to the Pardoner because the Pardoner's sinfulness makes the Host and the other pilgrims vulnerable as the next plague victims.