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?The Canterbury Tales? is a collection of stories, which are told by different characters to serve as entertainment on their journey to Canterbury. The characters who arise during the different tales, and those who tell the tales, play a vital role in understanding the story, and the mind frame of the English people living in the 15th century.

Two of the most interesting and diverse characters are the Pardoner and the Knight. These two characters represent the two extremes in the array of storytellers. The Knight, who seems to be one of Chaucer’s favorite characters, is a very noble, honest, and trustworthy man. The narrator describes him as having four main qualities: his love of ideals, his impressive military career, his meek, gentle manor, and finally, his dress. The story, which he tells, is very reflective of the man the Narrator perceived him to be. His story is a romance that contains a sense of honor and courage; all the things described as ideals he held.

On the complete other end of the spectrum, there is the Pardoner, a dishonest man with long, greasy, yellow hair, who ?made the person and the people his apes.” Chaucer looks upon the pardoner as a very untrustworthy man. He sells indulgences and gives out pardons to the people at a great fee, which by today?s standards, meant that he was a hustler. His tale of deceit and treason among brothers, reflect his own image quite well. Even during the journey to Canterbury, at a time when all the others were telling tales of how to live well and treat others fairly, the Pardoner was still trying to sell his indulgences, which showed how he had learned nothing from his fellow companions.

The Knight and the Pardoner are as different as night and day in this story, they represent two whole different sets of morals and ideals. The Knight is a good, honest man who works hard to defend his honor, where as the Pardoner is a sleazy low-life who is only trying to make money by exploiting the people and the Lord. Chaucer clearly favors the Knight over the Pardoner in the story. This is shown as the Knight rides at the front of the group of travelers, leading them on, but the Pardoner rides in the back with the other less-honorable characters. Their stories also personify the differences between them. The Knight?s tale is a story of honor and romance, a beautiful tale that uses a theme of kindness and religious virtue as its backbone. The Pardoner?s tale, on the other hand, is a story about how three men are torn apart by greed and how they plot against each other in order to receive self-gain.

The Knight and the Pardoner are quite possibly the most dissimilar characters presented in ?The Canterbury Tales.? One represents honor and courage, where the other represents greed and deception. The two can be used to understand how diverse the group of people was in the story. While the Pardoner may not have been the most respectful of men at the time, his story is still of equal importance, and he adds a sense of variance to the tales.


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