The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Compare the Pardoner and the Nun's Priest as storytellers in The Canterbury Tales. Which is more successful in your opinion?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It really all depends on how you define success. If the intent of both stories is to convey a moral message, then "The Pardoner's Tale," with its realistic description of greed and all its potentially dangerous consequences, is arguably more effective. Greed is quite a common theme throughout The Canterbury Tales, especially as it relates to the corrupt medieval Church. And the tale told by the Pardoner is one to which Chaucer's contemporaries will doubtless have related.

At the same time, "The Nun's Priest's Tale" successfully instructs, through a colorful animal fable , the dangers of vanity. Though Chaucer gives the impression of widespread greed and corruption in contemporary society, he also recognizes that most people are not really all that greedy, certainly not by comparison with the three drunken men in "The Pardoner's Tale." Yet just about everyone is guilty at some point in their lives of the kind of vanity displayed by the rooster Chanticleer in "The Nun's...

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