The Pardoner’s Tale: Themes of Death and Greed
In the Pardoner’s Tale death first takes shape as a thief stealing a
man’s life. This thief is first believed to be a man, which the trio is going to
set out to look for… As they are searching a wise man explains to them that
death is waiting for them under a large tree at the top of a hill.
Greed is then introduced in the tale. This ever growing greed is the
death that is awaiting them. Under the tree sits a great sum of gold. The
three men decide to send one man for supplies while the other two stand guard.
The two guarding the gold “meet” greed by deciding to kill the other man to
receive more gold for themselves. Meanwhile, the man that was sent for supplies
“meets” greed by intoning the thought of poisoning the other men’s food–thus
acquiring all of the gold. The man who was sent for supplies met death first
from the others–they met death by their food of celebration!