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A Level Guide to Teaching Chaucer’s The Pardoner’s Tale

jennywebb | Monday November 11, 2019

Categories: Archived Resources, KS5 Archive, AQA A Level, AQA A Level Pre-2015 Resources, AQA A Level English Language & Literature B, ELLB3, EDEXCEL A Level, Edexcel A Level Generic Skills, Edexcel A Level Skills Resources, EDEXCEL A Level English Literature, 6ET03, OCR A Level, OCR A Level Pre-2015 Resources, OCR A Level English Literature, F663, WJEC A Level, WJEC A Level Pre-2015 Resources, WJEC A Level English Literature, LT4, Hot Entries, Poetry, Chaucer, The Pardoner's Tale, Writing, Literary Analysis, Prose Analysis

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When Chaucer is to be taught, then ‘The Pardoner’s Tale’ is something a gift for an A Level student: it is short, simple and highly accessible; and yet it simultaneously offers a wealth of rich language for analysis. Themes including greed, death, betrayal and blasphemy are ripe for advanced level discussion and I have always found that, despite the 14th Century setting, the story is a universal one which students find easy to understand and explore.

When studying an A Level Literature text, nothing can beat old-fashioned class reading, taking notes and discussing as a class – this ensures individual understanding and a free flow of ideas. Here are some ideas for that will hopefully add to that traditional reading-discussion pattern.

Associated Resources

  • Resource 1 Scheme of Work.docx
  • Resource 1a General Prologue Pardoner.docx
  • Resource 2 General Prologue Pardoner Teacher Notes.docx
  • Resource 3 Cherles Termes Student Version.docx
  • Resource 4 Cherles Termes Teacher Version.docx
  • Resource 5 Pardoner Vocab.docx

Pardoner Revision Notes

Four Ways of Viewing the Pardoner

1. as a cynical and loathsome exploiter/ manipulator of the Christian beliefs of his audience.

  • victims include the ‘povereste page’ and ‘povereste widwe’ with starving children, thus no limit to his ruthlessness.
  • embraces materialism wholeheartedly and rejects poverty, labour and humility, all key Christian virtues.
  • creates a sense of obligation to purchase his indulgences and relics in his audience by suggesting that those who do not give money are guilty of ‘sinne horrible’; clear abuse of his position.

2. as an empty boaster.

  • all his claims of success are merely claims ?
  • ‘an hundred marks sith I was a pardoner’ he boasts, but no real evidence of wealth (note his dishevelled appearance in G.P.) Counter argument is that he is obsessed by the acquisition of money for its own sake, a pure form of avarice.
  • ‘a jolly...

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