The Pardoner


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Storyboard Text

  • Exposition
  • "'In this affair, and each defend the others,/And we will kill this traitor Death, I say!/Away with him as he has made away/With all our friends. God's dignity! Tonight!'" (Chaucer 269).
  • Rising Action
  • Rising Action
  • "'To find out Death, turn up this crooked way/Towards that grove, I left him there today/Under a tree, and there you'll find him waiting./He isn't one to hide for all your prating" (Chaucer 270).
  • Three drunk rioters were sitting in a tavern when they heard a bell ringing outside, signaling the passage of a coffin to its grave. The tavern-knave and the publican warn the rioters about the Death's power to kill people. Taking this as a challenge, the rioters make a pact to find Death and kill Death themselves.
  • Climax
  • The three rioters stagger out of the tavern and towards the village where Death was last seen. On their way, they run into a respectful, poor old man who tells the rioters that he is so old, not even Death will take his life.
  • Falling Action
  • "And so the Fiend, our common enemy,/Was given power to put it in his thought/That there was always poison to be bought,/And that with poison he could kill his friends./To men in such a state the Devil sends/Thoughts of this kind, and has full permission/To lure them on to sorrow and perdition" (Chaucer 273).
  • The old man reprimands the rioters about the importance of speaking to elders with respect, but nevertheless directs them toward the location where he last saw Death.
  • Resolution
  • "Concerning poison and its operation,/Trust me, no ghastlier section to transcend./What these two wretches suffered at their end./Thus these two murderers received their due,/So did the treaters young poisoner too" (Chaucer 274).
  • The three rioters break into a run and soon reach the location, under a tree in the woods, where the old man was talking about. However, it is not Death who is waiting for them, but a large pile of gold. The rioters forget all about their plan to kill Death, and decide to divide the gold up equally between the three of them. They will carry it back to town after nightfall in order to avoid suspicion.
  • "The wickedest spoke first after a while./'Brothers,' he said, 'you listen to what I say./I'm pretty sharp although I joke away./It's clear that Fortune has bestowed this treasure/To let us live in jollity and pleasure" (Chaucer 271).
  • The youngest out of the three rioters heads back into town to get food and wine. However, he also buys poison to put in the wine in order to kill his friends and be the sole possessor of the gold. Meanwhile, back at the tree, the two rioters come up with a scheme that involves stabbing their young friend. This way, they only have to divide the gold between the two of them.
  • Once their young friend returns, the other two rioters turn on him and stab him to death. To celebrate their friend's defeat, the two rioters proceed to drink the wine their slain friend had brought. Not knowing that it is poisoned, they drink it and die. And so Death came and gave the three rioters what they deserved.
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