Scene 7 (of 12) : The Pardoner

lines 2045-2300

The corrupt Pardoner, Robert Rome-Raker (‘Rome-Runner’), shows off his fraudulent ‘relics’ to the audience. He claims to be able to perform instant divorces, and attracts the interest of the hen-packed Sowter (shoe-maker) and his Wife, who pay to take part in a brief, obscene ‘ceremony’. The Pardoner’s servant, Wilkin Widdiefowl (‘little Willy Gallows-bird’) appears, and they plan where to spend the night. When Wilkin leaves, Pauper re-enters, and thinking the Pardoner’s pardons might get him back his cows, gives him his last groat to buy one. When he realises that he has bought only a promise of remission from the pains of purgatory once he is dead, he demands his money back, and, when the Pardoner refuses, they fight over the coin. Diligence enters and drives them off, ordering both to be placed in prison.

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