Tale vs. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
literature, relationships can often be found between the author of a
story and the story that he writes. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s frame
story, Canterbury Tales, many of the characters make this idea
evident with the tales that they tell. A distinct relationship can be
made between the character of the Pardoner and the tale that he
tells. Through the Prologue to the Pardoner’s tale, the character
of the Pardoner is revealed. Although the Pardoner displays many
important traits, the most prevalent I think is his greed. Throughout
the prologue, the Pardoner displays his greed and even admits that
the only thing he cares about is money: “I preach nothing except
for gain” (”Pardoner’s Tale”, Line 105). In the Pardoner’s
tale, three friends begin a journey in order to murder Death. On
their journey, though, an old man leads them to a great deal of
treasure. At this point, all three of the friends in the tale display
a greed similar to the Pardoner’s. The three friends decide that
someone should bring bread and wine for a celebration. As the
youngest of the friend’s leaves to go buy wine, the other two
greedily plot to kill him so they can split the treasure only two
ways. Even the youngest decides to “put it in his mind to buy
poison, with which he might kill his two companions” (383, 384).
The greed, which is evident in the character of the Pardoner, is also
clearly seen in the tale. Another trait that is displayed by the
Pardoner and a character in his tale is hypocrisy or insincerity.
Although the Pardoner is extremely greedy, he continues to try and
teach that “Avarice is the root of all evil” (6). As the tale
begins, the friends all act very trustworthy and faithful towards all
of their friends. They nobly make a decision to risk their lives
while trying to slay their friend’s murderer. As they talk about
their challenge, they pledge “to live and die each of them for the
other, as if he were his own blood brother” (241-242). At the end
of the tale, the “brothers” begin to reveal their true nature.
They all turn on each other in an attempt to steal the treasure for
themselves. All of the loyalty, which they had pledged, was simply a
lie and no faithfulness remained. While the two older brothers
plotted to kill the younger, the younger brother plotted to kill them
both and never to repent (388). Thus, these so-called faithful
brothers display their true ruthlessness and reveal their hypocrisy
in relation to the Pardoner’s character. The characters in the
“Pardoner’s Tale” match the unctuous nature of the Pardoner in
a great deal of ways. All of these traits and ideas that are seen in
both the Pardoner and the tale that he tells show a strong
relationship in the two. I think that Chaucer used this technique in
a lot of the tales that are recorded in Canterbury Tales. This
technique gives a greater insight into the mind of the teller. By
analyzing the tales, I think it is possible to learn much about the
teller of the tale. Using this method, Chaucer also focuses on the
characteristics of each of the people involved in Canterbury Tales,
but also keeps the poem interesting. I think that there is an
advantage by writing in this fashion, it shows the relationship of
the writer to the characters in the story. It is kind of like you are
actually in the story with the characters. I think it makes the story
more imaginable. In Gawain and the Green Knight, I think that the
author was writing the poem as if he were writing a book. Unlike the
Pardoner’s Tale, the narrator in Sir Gawain is not as involved in
the story as much. Personally, I chose Pardoner’s Tale as a better
story. I found that in Gawain, the story is also not as personal
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