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The Three Unities of The Pardoner's Tale

            The unity of time, place and action are all recognized devices in "The Pardoner's Tale," by Geoffrey Chaucer. Unity of time is when a story takes place during the course of one day. Unity of place is when all actions occur in one setting. Unity of action is the idea of one central story where all secondary plots are linked to it. These three devices are used to enhance the poem and add to the overall impact of "The Pardoner's Tale." .
             First, "The Pardoner's Tale" demonstrates unity of action by a recurring theme; greed as the root of all evil. This idea is focused around every motive or action throughout the story. Unity of action is found in the Pardoner's tale as well as his prologue. In the opening paragraphs, readers discover the Pardoner's true intentions; he became a priest for maximum profit, rather than because God called him to be a holy man. The pardoner even goes to the extent of saying, "I preach for nothing but the greed of gain"" (Line 82). He does not even attempt at covering up his seemingly inherent avarice. .
             The pardoner elaborates into a fable, displaying unity of action once again. In this tale, rioters find gold coins beneath a tree. Instead of splitting the florins among the three of them, they separately plan to kill one another, all to gain wealth driven by their greed. The youngest brother is quoted saying, "if only I could have all this treasure to myself, no man living under God's throne should live as merry as I" (Line 239-242), as if wealth brought instantaneous happiness. Ironically, all three men end up dead because of their actions carried out from their desire for riches. "They perished both"" (Line 289) and all ended up unhappy and killed from committing the worst sin possible, greed. Unity of Action allows the reader to focus on the authors message, even if "greed as the root of all evil"" is redundant. .
             In addition, "The Pardoner's Tale," dramatically shows unity of time by the events happening over the span of one day.

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