One More Drop Of Temptation Essay

1429 words - 6 pages

The consumption of alcohol is a key component in medieval literature. Due to drinking water being scarce. It was often preferred to drink beer, “Beer often had a low alcohol content” (Unger 3). The lack of germ theory made it very simple for individuals to drink alcohol instead of water for fear of sickness. It was when an individual drank abhorrent amounts of this beer that their decision making abilities were compromised. Within the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, it is quite important to notice all the situations in which alcohol encouraged foolishness, but it also encouraged its own consumption. The Pardoner’s Tale has sparked my interest from the beginning. The sermon that the ...view middle of the document...

Addressing gluttony is the important to the Pardoner’s performance. He is one who sells pardons and so far he has addressed, greed, and lust. The gluttony that he addresses here points to over drinking. The last line is what is troubling. Its context on the surface is that by the blood of Christ we were saved from our sins, but the stronger message is about communion. Within the church it is common practice for the blood of Christ to be represented by wine. The presence of alcohol is present enough to emphasize that because wine is the blood of Christ, it allows the Pardoner and others to drink wine till they are incoherent, because it is clear that wine is the substitute for Christ’s blood. Connecting to my previous point, it is gluttony that encourages the drinking of the wine after communion. He says that “Christ had bought us with his blood again” (line 501), because it is something he can exploit, he drinks because he can say it’s all in the name of god, and therefore it is fine. This concept of perverting the idea of Jesus is enforced in the portrait of the pardoner…
His place in the church goes to further emphasize this point by allowing him to sell pardons to those who also ‘drink too much’. The encouragement of drinking allows the pardoner to connect with his audience and influence their actions, if they are drunk, they are incapable of making rational decisions, which make them easy to sell pardons to. This manipulation of context by the use of alcohol is prevalent in the beginning of the tale as well.
The death of their friend in the above lines described that the men was drunk and was killed while he was utterly intoxicated. This is prevalent in lines 673-674, translated as ‘And suddenly he was slain tonight, He was very drunk, as he sat on his bench upright.’ This is significant because it raises the question whether or not the man had simply died because of alcohol overdose, or even more likely, this was to convince the already drunk men to go out and get themselves into trouble. What I mean by that is, what if the boy was encouraged to convince the men to go out as drunken idiots. The manipulation of the three rioters is obvious when the boy runs into the tavern and tells the tale of their friend’s death. Isn’t it ideal that some boy would come into the tavern and spin a tale that the boy encourages the men to deal with Death? The men are then easily persuaded due to their inebriation and make a pact to kill death. The death of this friend is the start of the main plot. Unarguable it is the inciting incident, all caused because of the original over drinking and death of the first friend. The conflict created here is that the drunk man’s death would have to be present for the tale to even start. Alcohol influenced the inciting incident and in that way, it was the driving force for the start of the tale. It is impossible for the story to have occurred,...

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