How is the subject of gold and treasure handled differently in Beowulf than in "The Pardoner's Tale" by Chaucer? Are there any similarities or differences between how gold and treasure are treated in these two stories?  

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In "The Pardoner's Tale," gold is linked with evil. The bag of gold discovered by the three men attempting to kill Death almost seems as though it were placed there by Satan himself, seeking to tempt the trio to their doom. They ultimately deceive and murder one another over possession of the treasure.

In Beowulf, the gold itself is presented as something good, at least as long as it is in the hands of an owner with noble intentions. It is the dragon's selfish hoarding of the treasure which is evil. The dragon will do nothing with the gold, least of all share it with anyone. However, when Beowulf wins the last battle with the dragon, he relishes the treasure and gives it to his people. Also, it must be remembered that Beowulf did not fight the dragon so he could get the treasure; he fought the dragon to protect his people from destruction.

So, the main difference between how the two stories present gold is in terms of morality. In Chaucer's text, gold is linked with earthly wealth and...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 887 words.)

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