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Irony in "The Pardoner's Tale"

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Cade Newman

on 8 May 2015

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Transcript of Irony in "The Pardoner's Tale"

Pardoners sold pardons—official documents from Rome that pardoned a person’s sins.

The Pardoner in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is dishonest.

The Pardoner often preaches about how money is the root of all evil.
Some Background...
Chaucer’s Dissatisfaction
There was widespread dissatisfaction with pardoners in Chaucer's time, which made them popular subjects of satire and joking.

How did Chaucer feel about the
role of the Pardoner in
society / the church?
Irony in "The Pardoner's Tale"
The Pardoner’s Tale is a, satirical, and ironic
portrayal of the greed of the church and
the recognition that the church was
corrupted during this time period.

in “The Pardoner’s Tale”

Situational Irony
The fire safety lectures were canceled because the screen caught on fire.

An ambulance runs over a pedestrian.

If you have a phobia of long words you have to tell people that you have Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia...

Why is this ironic?
And this?
Verbal Irony
When Shakespeare introduces his two antagonistic families in Romeo and Juliet, he calls them two households that are "alike in

The reader may think that the two families are both honorable and dignified only to discover later on in the play that the families are violently competitive and very

In the movie Annie, the orphans say, "We love you Ms. Hannigan," to their guardian who is mean to them.

Dramatic Irony
Scary music in a horror movie only the audience can hear, so we are prepared for what is to come while the characters are not.

In Titanic, we know the boat is going to sink. The people on the boat are unaware of the actual dangers the iceberg presents.
Let's enjoy a good story, and look for irony in
The Pardoner's Tale.

What examples can
you find?
Situational Irony
While selling a pardon for such sins as greed and dishonesty, the pardoner preaches against these very evils.


Both in and out of church, he was known to preach that
"The love of money is the root of all evil."

The opposite of what is expected to happen occurs

The use of words to mean something different than what the person actually means or says they mean

The reader knows something the character does not

Verbal Irony

The three rioters swore to protect each other
and "kill" death, but ended up killing
each other.
The Pardoner telling the tale is the primary
verbal irony. He boasts to his fellow pilgrims
that "Greed is the root of all evil"- while he
himself lives completely for avarice.

Irony in Hamlet
Situational Irony:
What's ironic about Laertes' death?
Dramatic Irony:

What does the audience know about
Hamlet that most of the characters do not?
As you read the other three
tales, look for examples of
these three types of irony.
Moving Forward
What kind of irony is this? Explain.
What kind of irony is this? Explain.
What kind of irony is this? Explain.
Irony in literature is intended to provoke
the reader into thinking harder and analyzing
a situation. By comparing and contrasting
reality with suppositions about reality, the
reader is able to arrive at a better
understanding of the author’s intent.
Role of irony in literature
What kind of irony is this? Explain.
What kind of irony is this? Explain.
What kind of irony is this? Explain.
What kind of irony is this? Explain.
Is sarcasm the same as verbal irony?
Overstatement as verbal irony
Understatement as verbal irony
Full transcript