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tools of the trade
Tools of the Trade
Geoffrey Chaucer was a author of the 12th century. Chaucer is known as the father of
English poetry. He wrote Canterbury Tales which is a collection of narrative short stories written
in verse. "The Pardoners Tale is among the more popular of these varied tales. It is told by a
pardoner who uses the story to preach against those who are blastfamous and gluttonous. In an
odd twist, after he tells the story he trys to sell others counterfiet relics. In this short story about
greed, disrespect and death Chaucer utilizes three important literary tools personification, irony,
In the tale by Chaucer Personification is utilized on the character of Death. When a young
boy is asked what happened to a man who had just died he responds in saying "There came a
sneaking thief that men call Death, who slays all the people in this country, and with his spear he
struck his heart in two, then went his way without saying another word." They show there feelings
by pledging to each other to murder death. "Let each of us hold up his hand to this false traitor
Death. He that slays so many shall be slain himself before nightfall."
In "The Pardoners Tale" personification is employed to make Death a person instead of a
process. Death is given human characteristics to make him more real to us. This tool allows the
main characters to focus their feelings.With the use of personification the three men are allowed to
focus their feelings of vengence on a person instead of a biological process.
Another tool that was heavily relied on was irony. There are many examples used to show
irony in the story. The old man sends the three drunkards down a path where he says death is,
however, a pot of gold awaits them there instead. "If your so anxious to find Death, turn up this
crooked path; for in that grove I left him, by my faith, under a tree, and there he\'ll stay." The
irony in this event is that the three men who were ready to kill Death totally forget about him once
the gold is found. After the three villians find the gold they send one into town for supplies.
During the absence of the villian who went into town, one of the others suggest the murder of the
absent one to increase there share of the money. "You are well aware that you\'re my sworn
brother. I\'ll you something that will profit you. . . you know very well that there are two of us,
and two are stronger than one. Watch him when he sits down, then get up and go for him in jest,
and I\'ll stab him. . ."This villian plans to kill a man he has just sworn to brotherhood only to
increase his finacial gain. Instead of trying to find Death and kill them they relax and without
even knowing it they find Death upon them..
Irony has many uses it can be used to teach or to humor us. The irony in this story is used
to teach a lesson. The use of irony is very important to the moral of the story. It shows us that
Death is impossible to escape. It may also add that we have no control over our lives that
everything that happens is set.
This particular tale is very symbolic. Symbolism is the representation of one thing for
another. The path that the old man send the three men down is crooked. This is used to show
that the path they are taking is evil or sinful. When they reach the grove the gold is under a tree.
"Every one of these rioters ran until he came to that tree, and there they found it, it seemd to them,
nearly eight bushels of fine gold florins." The tree could be a representation of the tree in the
garden of eden and the gold of the apple in the garden. The most important form of symbolism is
that of the symbolism of Death. I believe Death is symbolized by one character in the story, the
old man. The old man seems to have magnificent powers that
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The Canterbury Tales, The Pardoners Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer, Irony, Canterbury Tales, Death, Short story
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