Real-world Themes: Cupidity and Avarice

The theme of greed leads to bad things that are still relevant in this modern society. During the social issues of the Medieval Period, Buboes Plague was also known as Black Death. It took place when the Hundred Years War between England and France began in 1337. As the war continued for more than a century, it was unfortunate that England had a crippling climate in the country that made up one third of the population deaths. After Black Death is taking place, caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis, a significant drop in the population rate leads to a shortage of labor.

In return, after the serfs know their value, they begin to leave the land and begin to work in the town. This change led to the development of the new middle class. There were some government and religious issues during the medieval period. For example, the Magna Carta was a liberal figure that the barons forced John to sign in 1915.

The signing of the document aims to limit the royal power by giving more power to the barons.

William the Conqueror brings law and order to the land; but he kept a quarter of the land for himself, gave a quarter to the church and gave the rest to the loyal barons. Henry’s grandson, Henry Plantagenet, was crowned King Henry II after his death. He established the royal courts throughout the country, established a juridical system and created a common law of England on a patchwork of centuries.

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Richard the Lion-Hearted has spent nearly ten years reigning overseas. And King John, the villain in the legend of Robin Hood, raised taxes until the aristocracy threatened rebellion. Henry Tudor killed King Yorkist Richard III at Bosworth Field and ascended the throne as Henry VII. A major exception to the feudal hierarchy was led by the pope in Rome. Wielded tremendous power such as levying taxes, making its own laws, and ran its own laws. It kept kings and noblemen in line with the threat of excommunication. The church owned more land than anyone in Europe, leading to the conflict with the monarchy. Immediately, Thomas raised the shares, excluding Henry’s close advisers to the blessing of the Pope. Henry, realizing that both the pride and legitimacy of his son’s coronation was suspected. Although this was not a clear command and certainly fit his temper, his four low knights set out to kill Thomas a Becket.

Geoffrey Chaucer was born sometime between 1340 and 1343. Although his family is not noble but well off. His father was an important wine merchant in London and deputy to the king’s butler. In his early life, Chaucer served as a servant at the wife’s home of Prince Lionel, the son of King Edward III. Before starting to work for the government, he also had some education and some reasonable training. He was captured in France while a soldier during the Hundred Years’ War and important enough to have the king contribute to his ransom. Chaucer’s greatest literary achievement in the 1390s was the Canterbury Story, it was a group of 30 pilgrims on horseback to the Thomas à Becket temple in Canterbury, Kent and back.

Moreover, the main theme in Pardon’s Tale is to desire something for oneself. At the beginning of the story, the three rioters spend most of their time in the taverns, drinking, and gambling. After seeing all the deaths that caused by Death, they come up with a plan to seek out and kill him. While they are on their way to find Death, they meet an old man who is wandering around. His entire body is being covered by a black robe except for his face. The three rioters insulted the old man and treat him badly. The old man then tells them that he left Death under a tree. They went to the tree and found a pile on gold lying on the ground. The three rioters were so excited about the treasure that they found and forgot that they are on a search for Death. They then decided to bring the gold home by midnight. While the youngest went to the town and gather supplies, the two other men were planning to stab him when he returns. Unfortunately, the youngest also decided to kill the other two by poisoning them and have all the gold to himself.

“New florins, saying, “Lord, to think I might

Have all that treasure to myself alone!” Line 181- 182

“Nevertheless, if I could shape things thus

So that we shared it out – The two of us –” Line 155- 156

This quote is connected to the theme is because the three rioters killed each other to have the gold to themselves rather than splitting it up. In the real- world, gold is just like money. Although it does not ‘turn’ people into a greedy person, but it can reveal the desire for money or how people use it.

In addition, the story begins in the Wife of Bath’s Tale when a knight violated a young maiden. For his punishment, the court decided that the knight should be sentenced to death by decapitation. However, the Queen decided to give the knight one last chance to save his life by this question “What is women most desire.” He began to find the answer to his question from house to house, but each of them gave him different answers. Just as the year is almost over, the knight sees the fairies were dancing in the wood. As he approached, they suddenly disappear and leaving behind an old woman who agrees to help him. She tells him the answer to the Queen’s question. The woman’s most desire is to control their husband. In return, the old woman wanted the knight to marry her. She can gain control of the knight which leads to greed. She then gives him two options to choose from. Whether she can be young, beautiful, and not loyal, or ugly and be loyal.

“To keep your word and take me for your wife

For well you know that I have saved your life.” Line 231- 232

“You have two choices; which one will you try?” Line 395

This quote is connected to the theme because women just wanted to overcome their husbands or lusts to gain control of them. In fact, most women also want to keep their husbands under control and accomplish the tasks they want to do.

In both, the Pardon’s Tale and Wife of Bath’s Tale showed how people can be greedy sometimes. Those people will do anything for money, including bad things. The lust of having something for a person’s own self instead of sharing would leads to death.

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Real-world Themes: Cupidity and Avarice. (2022, Apr 20). Retrieved from

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