Geoffrey Chaucer: The Pardoner's Tale

(1148 words)
  • Susan Yager (Iowa State University)

The Pardoner’s Tale is the second story in Fragment VI of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and is paired in that fragment with the Physician’s Tale. These stories share common themes of selfishness and greed, include grisly and unexpected deaths, and raise issues of morality and justice. Both also draw from the same literary source, the Roman de la Rose, which Chaucer knew and may have partly translated. The Pardoner’s Tale is the better known of the two stories, and is more often taught and anthologized.

The function of a pardoner in the Middle Ages was to raise money for charitable causes by offering indulgences, or remittance of the guilt or punishment for sins, to …

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Yager, Susan. "The Pardoner's Tale". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 August 2008
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]