Use of Irony
Irony is important within society, in spite of being overlooked by many as a value which we do not hope to experience. There are several types of irony. Verbal, dramatic, and situational are three common types of irony all of which are visible in today’s society. Perhaps the most important meaning of irony to people today is its use to expose the truth. Chaucer uses irony throughout all his stories in The Canterbury Tales. Especially, “The Pardoner’s Tale”, which gives people a much superior perspective of reality. The story tells a tale of three young men in search of death but find wealth. The Pardoner’s Tale becomes a story of betrayal, treachery, and murder. Chaucer uses irony in The Pardoner’s Tale to entertain, critique society, and to teach moral lessons.
Chaucer shows entertainment using both dramatic and situational irony. Some of the most entertaining sections of The Pardoner’s Tale is in the description of the Pardoner himself. The Pardoner is believed to be a man of God, above reproach. He preaches goodness; however, his actions reveal the opposite. One characteristic of a pardoner is to be deprived of wealth but the Pardoner indulges in many scams to fill his coffers with money. One is to sell relics of the church that are not even real. His lessons continue with the tale of the three men who seek death but find wealth. Why the tale of the three men is entertaining irony is that they end up finding exactly what they set out to find, death! “Thus these two murders received their due/ So did the treacherous younger poisoner too”. (150. 294-295).
All through The Pardoner’s Tale, Chaucer uses irony to criticize society. The Pardoner is portrayed to be a man of God. He preaches against greed and sins. The Pardoners failure to do what he preaches causes him to be a model of disingenuousness. “And thus I preach against the very vice/ I make my livings out of avarice”. (143. 23-24). The Pardoner says the right things for the wrong...