The Root of Evil - Foundation for Economic Education.
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Not all of the clergy’s intentions were corrupt, but as Chaucer, through his character the Pardoner,so well put it,’Radix malorum est cupiditas’;, ( Love of money is the root of all evil). Many corrupted evils, such as greed, drove the clergy to deviate from the spirituality that religion was originated from.
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In the Pardoner’s Prologue claims, “Radix malorum est cupiditas” (line 4). This translates into “The roos of evil is desire” (1 Timothy 6:10). Right after he declares that he preaches against the desire for money, the Pardoner goes on to explain how he deceives people to earn money.
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Based on that, one can see how the Pardoner’s leitmotif, “Radix malorum est Cupiditas” (l. 334) unifies the ironic contradictions of the Prologue and of the Tale. First, the ambiguous figure of the Pardoner as narrator of a moral tale is ironic because his own character is extremely immoral.