How is the Pardoner Characterized in This Passage

How is the Pardoner Characterized in This Passage.

Rethinking Chaucerian BeastsShrews, Rats, and a Polecat in the “Pardoner’s Tale”

Past Sandy Feinstein and Neal Woodman

Rethinking Chaucerian Beasts, edited by Carolynn Van Dyke (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012)

Introduction: While historically existing animals and literary animal characters inform allegorical and metaphorical characterization in
The Canterbury Tales, figurative usage does not erase recognition of the fabric animate being. “The Pardoner’s Tale,” for ane, challenges the terms of conventional animate being metaphors by refocusing attention on common animals as mutual animals and common man creatures as something worse than vermin. Most attention has been paid to the larger animals-goat, hare, and horse-that constitute the concrete portrait of Chaucer’s Pardoner in the “General Prologue” and in the prologue to his tale. Like these animals, rats and a polecat, together with rhetorical shrews, appear in this tale every bit well equally in other literature, including bestiaries and natural histories. Equally to the purpose, these animals could be physically observed as constituents of both urban and rural landscapes in fourteenth-century England. In the Middle Ages, animals were part of the surroundings likewise as part of the civilization: they lived inside too as outside the urban center gates, priory walls, and even domestic spaces; a rat in the street or the garden might not be any less welcome or uncommon than encountering someone’due south horses and goats nibbling vegetation or blocking a passage. Non being out of the ordinary, though, such animals could (and can) exist overlooked or dismissed as mutual, also familiar to register. This chapter reveals why readers and listeners should pay close attention to the things they think they know and what they hear well-nigh what they think they know.

When the Wife of Bath alludes to an Aesopian fable, she reminds us of the importance of beingness aware of who is responsible for representing characters in a item way. In the tale, her rhetorical question, “Who peyntede the leon, tel me who?,” is intended to draw attention to how women accept been represented in the antifeminist tradition; the of the question partly resides in that in the fable a lion is the one challenging a man’s assertion of human being superiority based on a statue of a strangled lion. Notwithstanding, even in Aesop’s fable, when the lion speaks, it is a human being writer who has put words in its mouth. Chaucer scholars accept lately become interested in the implications of Chaucer’s utilise of animal discourse. Lesley Kordecki, for one, has looked at how nonhuman discourse in “The Squire’s Tale” leads to “consideration of subjectivity and, conversely [how] the possibility of animal discourse challenges the very foundation of subjective authority, actuality and privilege. In other words, talking animals make Chaucer reverberate upon his ain hegemonic ownership of words.”s This is besides 1 response to the Wife of Bath’southward question regarding subjectivity and authorship.

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Just in “The Pardoner’due south Tale,” animals that are physically rendered and represented equally animals don’t talk. The Pardoner does: he insists on his authority, displays his command of linguistic communication, and is represented every bit paint himself in his prologue and tale. He reveals his rhetorical intentions and his methods, admitting to having a single focus in his “prech(ing],” that of”coveitise” (VI.423-34). To this intent, he puts words in the mouths of his characters who serve his “moral tale” that greed is the root of all evil (Half dozen.460, 426). Amidst the characters that he creates are those he calls “shrews” or “cursed rioters,” one of whom he represents as inventing a story to accomplish his own greedy purpose-to impale his companions and keep all the treasure for himself In that story, both the human “shrew” and his own inventor exploit assumptions about 2 other familiar, common animals: rats and a polecat.

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How is the Pardoner Characterized in This Passage