The function of a pardoner in Chaucer's time was to collect moneys for charitable purposes and to be the Pope's special agent in dispensing or rewarding contributors with certain pardons as a remission for sins. By canon law, a pardoner was required to remain in a certain area; within this area, he could visit churches, receive contributions, and, in the Pope's name, dispense indulgences. An honest pardoner was entitled to a percentage of the take; however, most pardoners were dishonest and took much more than their share and, in many cases, would take all the contributions. Thus, as he boasts, Chaucer's Pardoner belongs to the latter class — that is, he speaks of how much he collects by refusing to give indulgences to anyone except the very good people.
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This note was uploaded on 12/05/2011 for the course ENGLISH 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '11 term at Texas State.