note to self re pardoner paper

Note to self: Don’t forget to counter the view among a couple (?) of Pardoner critics that he was punished, or did feel the consequences of his hypocrisy (or a deeper sin?). I think it is the critics bringing in Augustine who say this. But I would answer that there is no sign of the Pardoner being unhappy (this would go against McAlpine, too). One could say he gets some comeuppance when the Host teases him at the end. But that’s not much more than teasting. The host is clearly joining in the game. The Pardoner is angered, but that anger hardly amounts to comeuppance or punishment. Yeah, the Augustine critics — at least one of them — says that the pardoner is experiencing the ever-deepening despair of his sin. Should be pretty easy to argue against that, and to support my claim that there’s this purposeful tension between the consequences of sin his audiences (both parishioners and pilgrims) assumed (and the pardoner preaches in his sermon exempla and in the tale of the three rioters) and the consequences of sin he himself was experiencing (none! he thrives and enjoys life). Sure, as some critics point out, because he doesn’t want to be seen a fool by the pilgrims, he goes ahead and tells them flatly about his hypocrisy before he begins his tale. (He has already traveled with them. They know his hypocrisy, anyway. So he’s not foolish enough to go about performing his sermon and tale, as if he was holy man, as if he was non hypocritical. He figures he’ll go ahead and just tell them openly, “This is how I fool them and make so much money with my relics and preaching.” But there’s actually nothing like a “consequence of sin” in that.)


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