First and foremost, I have absolutely no knowledge of religion what so ever, so my understanding is very limited, and perhaps incorrect. This is partially why I decided to stay away from focusing on religious aspects.Â However, I did find an interest in examining the Pardoners appearance. Â We know all that the Pardoner himself acts completely opposite to what he preaches, but does his appearance have any significance to his actions? Or is his appearance contrary to how he acts?
To begin, what is a Pardoner? Before reading The Canterbury Tales, the Oxford English Dictionary website became my best friend.Â The way I understood it was, the Pardoner job included, pardoning people of their sins, the selling of relics, and preaching.Â In other words, as a Pardoner he has a very important job. When I close my eyes and attempt to imagine what a Pardoner would or should look like, the description that Chaucer gives does not match what I imagined. Â My close reading begins on page 259 starting on line 677, where Chaucer describes the Pardoner. The Pardoner is an individual with hair â€œas yellow as wexâ€ (677), thin and laying as â€œcolpons/strandsâ€ (681), eyes described as â€œswiche glarynge eyen hadde he as an hareâ€ (686), with a voice â€œas small/ highpitched as hath a goot/ goatâ€ (690). Â The description we are given for the Pardoner, in a way dehumanizes him while comparing him to animals. Oddly enough, his actions match that of a thief. In other words, not working hard for your money, but so easily getting/ stealing it from others. For example, the Pardoner feels no shame in taking money from a poor widow and her children suffering from famine even though the Pardoner Â gets â€œmore moneye than that the person gat in monthsâ€ [705-06]. While having no remorse for those below him in the social rank, it makes me wonder what the Pardonerâ€™s thoughts on God actually are.
Although I have not read other sections of The Canterbury Tales, I wonder how the other characters are described in comparison to the Pardoner.Â After analyzing the Pardoner as a character overall, I believe that there is a strong correlation between his actions and his appearance. What you see is what you get!
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Norton Anthology ofÂ English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., Inc., 2012. 243-342. Print