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Practice What You Preach, Pardoner

"The Pardoner's Tale," written by Geoffrey Chaucer, exhibits several qualities of life, as we know it today. In this story, Chaucer writes about a man who preaches to his audience for money. This man begins speaking against all that partake in drinking, blasphemy, and gambling but he admits to committing these sins himself. The pardoner speaks of three men that lost their lives due to greed. This leaves the reader with the knowledge that money is the root of all evil.

The pardoner condemns people who drink and says, "Lust is in all wine and drunkenness" (p 1). Even today, similar quotes can be heard from people across the nation. Many people love to advise others how to live their lives, but they lack the concept themselves. The pardoner is in fact this same way. He thrives to tell others the way of the Lord and condemn them for their sins; however, he is guilty of the same. In fact, just after he explains that swearing is evil, he says "Now for the love of Christ" (p 4). This could be considered a form of swearing. I find it ironic that he concludes his "sermon" by swearing with Christ's name to begin his tale.

Another aspect to consider is the greed of the pardoner. The pardoner seeks a commission from his audience for his tales. He himself is also one that is overtaken by money. Does he sincerely care about the condition of one's soul or is he just out for a quick buck? On page 9, the pardoner comments that his "holy pardon cures and will suffice/ So that it bring me gold, or silver brings/ Or else, I care not- brooches, spoons, or rings." Personally, I believe that the pardoner is willing to tell just about anything to receive money for himself. This is one of his sins that is evident that allows me to propose the statement, "Practice what you preach, pardoner."

The story also portrays the effects that greed has on one's life. The tale of the three men overtaken with greed relates to this present decade of people. "Show me the money" has been the theme of this generation. Everyone is caught up in his or her own battle of gaining their share of the riches. This is very similar to the tale of the three men that struck gold under the oak tree. The men were concerned with how to travel with the money without looking like robbers as noted when they stated, "For men would say that we were robbers strong/ and we'd, for our own treasure, hang ere long" (p 7). They were not concerned about whose money they were stealing they cared only about their personal statue. They did not want to appear as robbers, so they planned to travel at night as seen in this quote on page 7, "This treasure must be carried home by night." The three travelers set out to slay death. An old man directed them to death's path. The path was under an oak tree that actually had a treasure of gold. In my opinion, the old man was very wise in pointing the fact out that death will be found at this tree. When the men reached the tree, they automatically begin to think only of themselves. They begin scheming against each other to gain more for them. Page 7 and 8 displays these quotes, "...poison he did pour" and "...romp with him as in a game/ and with your dagger see, you do the same." These describe their plots of murder, which is indeed Death of which the old man was speaking. This old man recognized that money is the death of some people. He discerned their intentions and was intelligent enough to avoid that path.

Today, this same issue is visible. It may not always be to the point of death but it most likely will produce a negative outcome for another. People in this generation seem to care about themselves rather the well-being of those around them. Many reality shows on television somewhat portray this attitude. People on a given show desire the money for themselves. They do not care what they have to do to get it. They will lie, cheat, and steal; probably even kill if they could. The fact that it is televised is probably the only fact that keeps them from it!

Death consumed the travelers because of their greed. In fact, they killed each other to gain more provisions for themselves. The youngest traveler made this statement, "Have all this treasure to myself alone" (p 8). He intentionally planned to kill his comrades for the love of money. Today, there are numerous reports of homicides due to money and greed. People are willing to do anything for personal capital gains. In our area of Sand Mountain, we do not see actual murder as much, but we do see other factors of emotional murder due to the love of money. People of this generation may not actually kill, but they do tear down other people. They lose friendships, love, and respect. Greed is the root of all evil that will truly have a negative effect on a person's life.

The pardoner is a man that represents many people in this present day. He proceeds to tell others of their wrong doings; however, he is just as guilty. We, the people of this time, tend to do the same thing on a daily basis. We find it easy to tell others how to live their lives while we carry on with our sinful routine. In addition, this age of people is guilty of being self-centered just as the travelers were in this tale. The idea of today's world demonstrates this same framework of thoughts. The people of this period are consumed with the love of money for themselves more than the welfare of those around them. It is interesting that a piece of literature written hundreds of years ago could portray life, as we know it today.

After

Practice What You Preach, Pardoner

Dear Client,

Like the first essay that you submitted, this essay could benefit from the inclusion of more specific examples. You say that drinking is condemned in this story, and that it is also condemned in today's society - but where are the contemporary examples? Also, your thesis is about money being the root of all evil, and you do get to that point by the end, but the paragraph on drinking seems out of place in this context. What does drinking have to do with money?

Your essay also contains a number of grammatical errors, awkward phrasing choices, sentence fragments, tense inconsistencies, and typos, all of which I have corrected for in my revision.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.

Best,

GradeSaver Editor

Editor comments:

Practice What You Preach, Pardoner

Nice title

"The Pardoner's Tale," written by Geoffrey Chaucer, exhibits several qualities of life, as we know it today. In this story, Chaucer writes about a man who preaches to his audience for money. This man begins speaking against all that partake in drinking, blasphemy, and gambling but he admits to committing these sins himself. The pardoner speaks of three men that lost their lives due to greed. This leaves the reader with the knowledge that money is the root of all evil.

The first sentence is very vague; don't all stories say something about certain aspects of life? What do you mean by this? "all who partake," not "all that partake." Your thesis (money is the root of all evil) is clear, but could be stated in a more interesting way.

The pardoner condemns people who drink and says, "Lust is in all wine and drunkenness" (p 1). Even today, similar quotes can be heard from people across the nation. Many people love to advise others how to live their lives, but they lack the concept themselves. The pardoner is in fact this same way. He thrives to tell others the way of the Lord and condemn them for their sins; however, he is guilty of the same. In fact, just after he explains that swearing is evil, he says "Now for the love of Christ" (p 4). This could be considered a form of swearing. I find it ironic that he concludes his "sermon" by swearing with Christ's name to begin his tale.

Can you be more specific about "similar quotes...from people across the nation"? You say that "people love to advise others how to live their lives," but you should include some specific examples of individuals today condemning drinking.

Another aspect to consider is the greed of the pardoner. The pardoner seeks a commission from his audience for his tales. He himself is also one that is overtaken by money. Does he sincerely care about the condition of one's soul or is he just out for a quick buck? On page 9, the pardoner comments that his "holy pardon cures and will suffice/ So that it bring me gold, or silver brings/ Or else, I care not- brooches, spoons, or rings." Personally, I believe that the pardoner is willing to tell just about anything to receive money for himself. This is one of his sins that is evident that allows me to propose the statement, "Practice what you preach, pardoner."

The transition into this paragraph is a little awkward. Again, you should include some contemporary examples of the condemnation of greed. You don't need the last sentence in this paragraph.

The story also portrays the effects that greed has on one's life. The tale of the three men overtaken with greed relates to this present decade of people. "Show me the money" has been the theme of this generation. Everyone is caught up in his or her own battle of gaining their share of the riches. This is very similar to the tale of the three men that struck gold under the oak tree. The men were concerned with how to travel with the money without looking like robbers as noted when they stated, "For men would say that we were robbers strong/ and we'd, for our own treasure, hang ere long" (p 7). They were not concerned about whose money they were stealing they cared only about their personal statue. They did not want to appear as robbers, so they planned to travel at night as seen in this quote on page 7, "This treasure must be carried home by night."

Consider combining and streamlining these two paragraphs.

The three travelers set out to slay death. An old man directed them to death's path. The path was under an oak tree that actually had a treasure of gold. In my opinion, the old man was very wise in pointing the fact out that death will be found at this tree. When the men reached the tree, they automatically begin to think only of themselves. They begin scheming against each other to gain more for them. Page 7 and 8 displays these quotes, "...poison he did pour" and "...romp with him as in a game/ and with your dagger see, you do the same." These describe their plots of murder, which is indeed Death of which the old man was speaking. This old man recognized that money is the death of some people. He discerned their intentions and was intelligent enough to avoid that path.

The first sentence is just plot summary; what is the focal point of this paragraph? You don't need an ellipsis at the beginning or the end of a quote - only in the middle, to indicate that some content has been skipped over.

Today, this same issue is visible. It may not always be to the point of death but it most likely will produce a negative outcome for another. People in this generation seem to care about themselves rather the well-being of those around them. Many reality shows on television somewhat portray this attitude. People on a given show desire the money for themselves. They do not care what they have to do to get it. They will lie, cheat, and steal; probably even kill if they could. The fact that it is televised is probably the only fact that keeps them from it!

The second sentence is convoluted and confusing. Can you give some more specific examples to support this contention? What show are you talking about? It seems to me that contestants on many reality shows say that they want the money for their families (they may be lying, but still...).

Death consumed the travelers because of their greed. In fact, they killed each other to gain more provisions for themselves. The youngest traveler made this statement, "Have all this treasure to myself alone" (p 8). He intentionally planned to kill his comrades for the love of money. Today, there are numerous reports of homicides due to money and greed. People are willing to do anything for personal capital gains. In our area of Sand Mountain, we do not see actual murder as much, but we do see other factors of emotional murder due to the love of money. People of this generation may not actually kill, but they do tear down other people. They lose friendships, love, and respect. Greed is the root of all evil that will truly have a negative effect on a person's life.

Keep your tense consistent throughout ("death consumes...they kill each other") - generally, you should relate the events of a story in the present tense.

The pardoner is a man that represents many people in this present day. He proceeds to tell others of their wrong doings; however, he is just as guilty. We, the people of this time, tend to do the same thing on a daily basis. We find it easy to tell others how to live their lives while we carry on with our sinful routine. In addition, this age of people is guilty of being self-centered just as the travelers were in this tale. The idea of today's world demonstrates this same framework of thoughts. The people of this period are consumed with the love of money for themselves more than the welfare of those around them. It is interesting that a piece of literature written hundreds of years ago could portray life, as we know it today.

REVISION:

Practice What You Preach, Pardoner

Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Pardoner's Tale" was written in the 14th century, but many of its themes are still relevant to contemporary society. In this story from The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer writes about a man who preaches to his audience in exchange for money. The man speaks out against all who consume alcohol, gamble, or blaspheme, but admits to having committed these sins himself. Ultimately, the pardoner says that the three men of whom he speaks lost their lives to greed: money, it seems, is the root of all evil.

The pardoner condemns people who drink by saying, "Lust is in all wine and drunkenness" (1). Today, those who drink to excess are similarly condemned: add example. Many people enjoy telling others how they should live their lives, all the while ignoring their own advice. The pardoner epitomizes this hypocrisy: he speaks of the way of the Lord and condemns his audience for their sins, but is himself a sinner. In fact, just after he explains that swearing is evil, he says, "Now for the love of Christ" (4) - a blasphemous phrase during Chaucer's time. Ironically, he concludes his sermon by taking the Lord's name in vain.

The pardoner condemns the greedy, but is deeply covetous of material things. He extracts a commission from his audience prior to commencing his tale, and appears more interested in financial gain than in the condition of his soul. Indeed, the pardoner comments that his "holy pardon cures and will suffice / So that it bring me gold, or silver brings / Or else, I care not- brooches, spoons, or rings" (9). The pardoner seems willing to say nearly anything to bring in additional income.

In today's society, greed is seen as having similarly negative effects on an individual's life. "Show me the money," a phrase popularized in Cameron Crowe's film Jerry Maguire, has become the slogan of an entire generation. Everyone appears to be caught up in the struggle to become rich. Like the three men who strike gold under the oak tree in Chaucer's tale, people today are concerned not with moral imperatives, but with how to hold on to what they have. The men in "The Pardoner's Tale" wonder how they will be able to travel without looking like robbers: "For men would say that we were robbers strong/ and we'd, for our own treasure, hang ere long" (7). They decide to travel at night so as not to be seen by passers-by. They are not concerned about the person from whom they are stealing; they care only about their personal gain.

The three travelers in Chaucer's tale set out to slay death in the hopes of taking home the ultimate prize: immortality. An old man directs them to death's path, which leads them past an old oak tree under which is buried a treasure of gold. After the travelers steal the gold, the reader realizes that the old man was very wise in pointing out that death could be found at this tree. In the face of great riches, each man begins plotting how to kill his comrades so as to keep all of the treasure (7-8). Greed is what ultimately leads the travelers to their demise. The youngest traveler even states directly that he wishes to "have all this treasure to myself alone" (8). The old man, it seems, recognizes that death can be found in greed; he knew what lay under the tree all along, but was wise enough to avoid a temptation that would lead him only to death's door.

Today, greed often has dire consequences - those who attempt to keep riches all to themselves can face fines, prison sentences, and other decidedly negative consequences. Countless homicides are motivated by greed: people, it seems, are willing to do anything for money. In Sand Mountain, murders are not particularly common, but greed can still cause people to inflict emotional harm on others. Many of today's reality shows exemplify this attitude: contestants on these shows want to win money, and do not care what they have to do to get it. They lie, cheat, and steal, and generally engage in behaviors that would be seen as reprehensible were they not undertaken in the pursuit of financial gain.

Although the pardoner was created by Chaucer many centuries ago, he is a character who remains relevant even in today's society. When he chastises his audience for their wrongdoings, he is revealed as a hypocrite: he is just as much a sinner as those whom he addresses. This tendency can still be seen today: many people easily dictate how others should live their lives while ignoring their own advice. The theme of the danger of greed is particularly central to contemporary society. Today, as in earlier years, people are wholly focused on the desire for financial gain, and are often willing to commit hateful acts in the pursuit of money.

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