An Analysis of The Moral of Two Tales from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner's Tale and The Wife of Bath

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Words: 581 |

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Published: Nov 16, 2018

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Words: 581|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Nov 16, 2018

An Analysis of the Moral of Two Tales from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner’s Tale and The Wife of Bath
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In summary, Hamlet's tragic journey is a vivid illustration of the perils of overthinking, idealism, fatalism, and excessive analytical thought. His inability to strike a balance between reason and passion becomes the catalyst for his tragic downfall.

His idealistic nature prevents him from seizing the moment when he could have avenged his father's murder, instead waiting for the "perfect" opportunity that never arises. His fatalistic beliefs lead to passivity, accepting his fate even when he recognizes the dangers ahead. Most significantly, his overanalytical tendencies hinder him from making crucial decisions, leaving him caught in a web of indecision.

As the play progresses, Hamlet's sanity deteriorates due to his regret, resulting in irrational actions such as the killing of Polonius and the subsequent tragedy of Ophelia's suicide. While he ultimately avenges his father, his inability to act decisively and find a balance between reason and passion leads to the tragic demise of himself and those he loves.

Hamlet's character serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the importance of finding equilibrium between reason and passion to avoid the tragic consequences that befell him.

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer provides a thought-provoking satire on Medieval life planted within a cast of lively and often laughable characters, all while presenting its readers with an interesting story structure to explore. The Canterbury Tales has many characters and every character has a unique and distinctive story.

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Comparison of Two Tales: Genre and Morals

The pardoner is also a part of this pilgrimage and he also shares story as everyone does. The Pardoner’s Tale taught the audience an important lesson and had a message in the end. That message was focused on greed as three men was determined to go on a journey to find Death. Eventually, the three men were led to a tree where they “found a pile of golden florins on the ground”. We see that soon enough; these three men forgot about their mission and were too focused on being greedy that they had plotted to kill each other.

The moral of this tale is that “greed is the root of all evil” as shown with the three rioters. They demand to know where they can find Death, a mysterious figure who killed one of their friends. An old man directed them to a tree, where they should find Death. However, once they arrived, they were greeted not by Death, but by gold coins. They become excited, but one says that if they were to carry the gold into town during the day, they would be mistaken for thieves; so they decide to wait for the cover of night, but in the meantime, the youngest one went to get bread and wine to eat. While he was away, the other two show their greed by plotting to kill the young lad when he returned with the food, so that their share of wealth was greater. Meanwhile, while the lad was on his way to buy the food, he has a similar thought. His greed shows when he poisons two of the wine bottles intending to kill the other two so that he has all the gold for himself. When he returns, the other two ambush him, killing him. To celebrate their victory and wealth, they grab a wine each and drink them, unknowing that they were poisoned. After a while, they both lay dead. In the end, their greed is what killed them, before the gold they were great friends, after it they were just a percentage of the gold that they wouldn’t have. This tale made an example of greed being one of the deadly sins. It should be noted, with much humor and irony, that they did find Death, just not the one that they were expecting.

The genre of the Wife of Bath’s Tale is romance, as it involves a knight and a good ending. This story was about a knight going on the journey in finding the answer to the question “what is the thing that women most desire” (Coghill 282). After months of travelling, he eventually met an old woman who agreed to tell him the answer only if he does whatever she asks of him. After the knight survives, he agreed to marry the old woman and, in the end, she turned into a beautiful, loyal woman because the knight gave her what woman wanted the most (Coghill 291).

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The moral of this tale is that “women want to be in charge of their men,” as shown by the old hag in the tale. After almost a year of searching for the answer of what women want the most, the knight has given up and accepted his fate. He meets the old hag who tells him the answer in exchange for a favor. Once he realizes that he has no other choice he accepts. This puts the old hag with the upper hand, she’s the one in charge. Once he has disclosed the answer to rid himself of his sentence, the old hag tells him her favor. She wanted to marry him. At first, he was reluctant, she was an old hag after all, but she reminded him of the promise, the upper hand, and so he kept it. She also falls into the “women who want to be in charge of their men” category, so when she asked him how he wanted her to look, old and ugly but faithful or young and beautiful but people would look at her and woo her and such, she wanted only one answer. I guess you could say it was kind of a trick question, since it was neither of the two options. The knight said that she could be whatever she desired, giving her the option to choose and be happy with what she chose. She chose to be beautiful and faithful, the best of both worlds. Obviously, the knight was delighted with this decision, but the old hag, now a beautiful woman, was even happier since she was able to decide from herself, and have any input from the knight.

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An Analysis of the Moral of Two Tales from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner’s Tale and The Wife of Bath. (2021, October 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from
“An Analysis of the Moral of Two Tales from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner’s Tale and The Wife of Bath.” GradesFixer, 15 Oct. 2021,
An Analysis of the Moral of Two Tales from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales: The Pardoner’s Tale and The Wife of Bath. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Dec. 2023].
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