Irony In The Canterbury Tales By

638 words - 3 pages

Irony is the general name given to literary techniques that involvesurprising, interesting,or amusing contradictions. 1 Two stories thatserve as excellent demonstrations of irony are "The Pardoners Tale" and"The Nun's Priest's Tale," both from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.Although these two stories are very different, they both use irony to teacha lesson.Of the stories, "The Pardoners Tale" displays the most irony. Firstand foremost, the entire telling of the story is ironic, considering justwho is the teller. The Pardoner uses this story to speak out against manysocial problems, all of which he himself is guilty of. He preaches aboutdrunkenness, while he is drunk, blasphemy, as he attempts to sell fakereligious relics, and greed, when he himself is amazingly greedy. Yetthere are also many ironic situations in the story itself. The irony startswhen, in the begining of the story, the three rioters make a pact to "bebrothers" and "each defend the others" and "to live and die for oneanother" in protection from Death, (lines 37-43) and then in going out tofulfill their vow, they end up finding money, and killing each other over it.Even more ironic, is how they end up killing each other. After finding themoney, the men plan to stay with it until it becomes dark and they cansafely take it away. To tide themselves over until then, they send the youngest one out to get food and wine, and while he is away they plan tokill for his share of the money. Ironically, the youngest one is planningthe same thing so he slips poison into the drinks of his companions. Whenhe returns, he is attacked and stabbed to death by the other men Then, inprobably the most ironic action in the whole story, the murderers, tocongratulate themselves, drink from the poisoned cup and die."The Nun's Priest's Tale" is also laden with irony, the most obviousof which is the characters themselves. The story begins by telling of anold woman who...

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