Greed has proven to be an enemy throughout human nature. In the poem “The Pardoner’s Tale,” the Pardoner’s reasons are to lure ignorant people to give away their money and to brag about his aptitudes. The pardoner’s speeches have a successful effect because the town’s people feel that money is evil. The problem of greed becomes a morality lesson to teach in medieval and modern literature. Gambling is a form of greed, since it is an attempt to make money through the losses of others. Stealing is another form of greed. Each nation and ethnic group is driven by the desire for self-determination. National sovereignty combined with the spirit of competition and greed has produced a volatile mix. What constitutes a glutton, and what do the Christian Greek Scriptures say about this topic? A glutton is defined as one given habitually to greedy and voracious eating and drinking. Thus, for one thing, gluttony is a form of greed, and God’s Word tells us that “greedy persons” are the sort of people who will not inherit God’s Kingdom. The Bible warns against all forms of greed. Solomon writes, “An inheritance is being got by greed at first, but its own future will not be blessed” (Proverbs 20:21). The apostle Paul stressed, “The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things” (1Timothy 6:10). Geoffrey Chaucer writes the poem “The pardoner’s Tale” and Leo Tolstoy creates the story “How Much Land Does A Man Need.” The stories written in different time periods are going to prove if the Christian Greek scriptures are accurate in medieval and modern literature.
In the poem “The Pardoner’s Tale,” greed is the root of evil. Traits of evil are hatred, deceptiveness, greed and cruelness. In medieval times religions take advantage of the town’s citizen’s ignorance. The church would have pardoners sell relicts and certificates to gain access to heaven. A medieval ecclesiastic authorized to raise money for religious works by granting papal indulgences to contributors. In Chaucer’s poem shows how a pardoner would lie to people. Pardoner says, “Out come the pence, and specially for myself, / For my exclusive purpose is to win, / And not at all to castigate their sin” (Lines 20-23). In these lines it illustrates the pardoner’s greediness intensions. The character in the poem does not care for the individual but for his own conveniences. It is like a modern day politician. They will sacrifice lives to gain what they want, when ever, and how they want to accomplish their greedy purposes. In the past pardoners would act the same way. The Pardoner expresses, “Believe me, many a sermon or devotive, / Exordium issues from an evil motive” (lines 25, 26). Wickedness is the term to describe what pardoners in the past are like. The pardoner acts iniquitous when he approaches innocent people. Irony is introduced in the poem. Chaucer effectively criticizes the church system. Lewiston says, “The poem shows how anyone in the church would benefit from the people’s ignorance” (on line). The poem has a fiendish morality to it. Medieval literature is found to have many stories that relate to injustice actions made from someone in power. Presidential candidates can be an example in modern days. Most of the politicians would lie to gain what they want. In the long run any one that commits such actions will be rewarded with life’s pay. The poem has other motives to make irony show between characters.
In the poem “The Pardoner’s Tale,” the Pardoner’s reasons are to lure ignorant people to give away their money and to brag about his aptitudes. Nearly every aspect of the Pardoner's tale is ironic. Irony exists within the story itself and in the relationship between the Pardoner and the story. Pardoner says, “Or when I dare not otherwise debate, / I’ll put my discourse into such a shape, / My tongue will be a dagger; no escape” (lines 30-31). The irony begins as soon as the Pardoner starts his prologue. He actually preaches against his own problems and sins. Pardoners who took money in return for forgiveness were supposed to use the money for charity, but he, like many other Pardoner's in his time, uses the money for his own satisfaction. The narrator says, “But let me briefly make my purpose plain, / I preach for nothing but for greed of gain, / And use the same old text, as bold as brass, / Radix malorum est cupiditas” (lines 41-44). The Pardoner makes a mockery of the entire church by fabricating stories about his phony relics. Chaucer shows how the Church is so corrupt, that even a Pardoner who admits to his evil ways, can still cheat the people out of their money. Hayden comments, “In the start of the poem the Pardoner tells his sins in public” (on line). The Pardoner begins his story by condemning the common sins of society such as drinking and gluttony. The irony of his criticism lies in the fact that he has been drinking himself, and that he is an admitted glutton. The Pardoner’s discourses have an extreme affect on the pilgrims.
The pardoner’s speeches have a successful effect because the town’s people feel that money is evil. The ending of the story presents a good message despite the Pardoner's devious intentions to swindle money from the other pilgrims. There are also many ironic elements of the story itself. The rioters in his story vow to set out and slay Death. In doing so, they promise to fight and sacrifice for one another. The wickedest spoke first, “I’ll up and put my dagger through his back, / . . . . , / Then draw your dagger too and do the same” (lines 250 and 252). The irony starts in these lines when they plot an evil event. The three drunken fighters pledge to die for each other, but in reality they kill each other. The Pardoner says, “Thus these two murderers received their due, / So did the treacherous young poisoner too” (lines 317 and 318). The youngest of all decides to keep all of the money and tries to poison his friends. They all fall to an early deep sleep after all. Chaucer explains that the love for money has terrible consequences. The way the Pardoner tells the tale it is ironic. In reality the Pardoner is the one who loves money and will deceive anyone to obtain it. Harris says, “The poem has a morality lesson still valid in modern times” (on line). The danger of love for money has not changed at all. Many families have been divided because of money. Others have killed their own siblings to obtain most of the family fortune. There is an old divine saying “wisdom is for a protection the same as money is for a protection; but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.” This saying never ages. The wisdom that the saying refers to is spiritual knowledge. There are lessons of greed also recorded in modern literature.
The story “How Much A Man Need” and “The Pardoner’s Tale” has similarities and differences. The story by Leo Tolstoy is written in modern times. Tolstoy’s message in the story is clear enough. Pakhom destroys himself because he allows the sin of greed to guide his life. For Tolstoy, a Russian nobleman who, after a dissolute youth, reformed his behavior and eventually became a Christian mystic, it seemed clear that the devil had to be the catalyst of Pakhom’s destruction. The narrator says, “He was ten times better off than he had been. He had plenty of arable land and pasturage, and could keep as many head of cattle as he liked” (841). Pakhom is not content with what he has because greed took over his heart. He wants more every time and will sacrifice anything to obtain it. Pakhom hears of another opportunity and takes it without thinking twice. The narrator portrays, “If I were to buy some freehold land and have a homestead on it, it would be a different thing altogether. Then it would all be nice and compact” (841). Greed is all over his soul. All Pakhom wants is more land. Satisfaction is not in the vocabulary of an greedy individual. The truth in Tolstoy’s story can be rationalized, of course. Pakhom makes choices of his own free will and those choices lead him to destruction. Harvey comments: “Everyone is made to decide for their own and the consequences may vary” (on line). Everyone has the responsibility to think before they act. Pakhom acts according to his evil desire and he found greed’s pay. Mostly everyone knows that it is destruction. The story “How Much Does A Man Need? and the poem “The Pardoner’s Tale” have many contributes to teach to the younger generations about greed.
The Bible reflects a keen understanding of human nature. No wonder, for its Author, Jehovah God, is the Creator! He understands humanities thinking and emotions better than any one alive. Furthermore, Jehovah knows what humanity needs in order to be happy. He also knows what pathways humans should avoid. The story “How Much Does A Man Need? and the poem “The Pardoner’s Tale” proves that the Christian Greek scriptures are accurate in medieval and modern literature. The words recorded long ago, “An inheritance is being got by greed at first, but its own future will not be blessed” and “The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things” are still valid in modern times. Leo Tolstoy and Chaucer are just people that saw this happening in their times. In Chaucer’s poem he talks about the character that teaches good things but does not follow them. Pardoners in that time are hypocrites. There is an interesting text recorded by the apostle John which says, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their end shall be according to their works” (1 Corinthians 11: 12-15). This verse is the answer for Chaucer’s observations. Hypocrites exist in the past and in modern times. The story “How Much Does A Man Need? and the poem “The Pardoner’s Tale” are exhalent evidence of God’s Wisdom.
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New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, Proverbs 20:21.
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Publication Date: 02-15-2010
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