The Pardoner begins by describing all of his tricks of the trade in his work. He explains to the pilgrims that he always uses "greed is the root of all evil" as his theme when preaching, the better to loosen the purse strings of his audience. Demonstrating the hard sell he gives when he arrives in a town, the Pardoner describes some of his relics and their curative properties. They drink and party all night and day, love to gamble, drink, binge-eat, flirt, swear, and generally debauch themselves.
The Host welcomes them and asks whether either has a tale to tell.
The Yeoman answers immediately that his master knows much about mirth and jollity, and then he begins to tell the secrets of their trade and all he knows about alchemy. Seeing that the Yeoman plans to tell everything, the Canon slips away in shame.
The first part of the Yeoman's tale is autobiographical: He explains that once he had good clothes and a comfortable living, that he and the Canon are alchemists, and that he is so in debt because their attempts at alchemy always fail. He then tries to explain their occupation, their failed attempts at alchemy, and their elusive search for the Philosopher's Stone.
The tale itself comprises the second part of The Canon's Yeoman's Tale. A canon who practices alchemy borrows a mark from a priest. In three days time, the canon returns the mark and offers to reveal a couple of his discoveries.
He sends for some quick silver and, by tricks, makes the priest believe that he turned the quick silver into real silver. Unaware of the trick, the priest is very pleased.
Three times the canon tricks the priest, each time "turning" a less valuable object quick silver, chalk, and then a twig into silver. The beguiled priest buys the secret from the canon for 40 pounds, and the canon promptly disappears.
The Yeoman ends his tale with a broadside attack on the subject of alchemy and a conglomeration of all the ridiculous terms used by alchemists. Analysis Just as The Second Nun's Tale closes, two strangers, a church canon and his servant or yeomangallop up to the pilgrimage and join it.
Before long the Yeoman reveals — half by accident — that the Canon is a thieving alchemist. The Canon flees the company, thereby essentially acknowledging his rascality, and the Yeoman renounces the practice of alchemy.
He explains this renunciation to the pilgrims, and to himself as well, in two ways: Because neither the Canon nor the Canon's Yeoman is presented in The Prologue, most authorities agree that this prologue and tale were written well after The Prologue.
During the Middle Ages, people believed that certain base metals lay in the ground for many years and, ultimately, became purer higher metals.
They also believed that an alchemist could accelerate this process, turning a base metal such as lead into a precious metal such as gold in moments. Alchemy was considered a science by which this transmutation occurred. In truth, alchemy was pure charlatanism with the alchemist being the ultimate charlatan — a superb pretender to knowledge or skill.
Part I of the tale is a rogue's confession compare it with the prologues of the Pardoner and the Wife of Bath. Part II is the story of how an alchemist dupes a poor, credulous priest.The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer The Pardoner's Tale Analysis The Pardoner’s Tale has been the subject of much recent critical analysis because, in some ways, it sums up the entire Canterbury Tales.
Course Summary Help your students master English literature with this flexible, online textbook replacement course. Our video lessons and quizzes make a mobile-friendly, interactive textbook tool. The Pardoner.
The Pardoner's Tale begins with the travelers listening to stories as the host of the group invites each one to speak in turn. The host invites the pardoner to tell a humorous tale.
Analysis From the Pardoner's perspective, the Physician told a cheaply pious story and the Host, a sanctimonious fool, reacts to the tale with what seems high praise.
Then, after praising the Physician, the Host turns to the Pardoner and asks for a merry tale or jokes ("som myrthe or japes"), even though preaching is the Pardoner's profession. Structure and versification in Valediction: of Weeping A syllogism.
As in many poems, such as The Anniversarie, Twicknam Garden, The Dreame, A Valediction: of Weeping is structured into three fairly long stanzas. The tri-partite divisions suggests the form of the syllogism, an old logical form used from Greek time onwards, which consisted of a major premise, a minor one and a conclusion.
The Pardoner’s Tale Themes and Colors Key LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Canterbury Tales, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.