Death? Is That You?

“Do you think that the old man in the Pardoner’s Tale was death?”

In the Pardoner’s Tale, there were three men who saw a dead man being carried by some other men. The three men asked what was wrong with the dead man and the men carrying the dead man said that the man had been taken by death. Outraged, the three men made an oath with each other that they would hunt down and defeat death. One of the three men happened to know where death lived and they started to go along the path. While on the road, they ran into an old man. They asked him why he looked so old and the old man said it was because no one would trade their youth for his age and God commanded death not to take him. The old man said if they followed the crooked path up ahead, they would meet death at a big oak tree, and that death would be hiding from them. The three young men raced up the crooked path until they found the oak tree. Instead of finding death, the men found bushes with gold coin hanging from the branches. They decided to sit down and enjoy their riches, and thus their oath was broken. Two of the three men sent the other to go to town to get some wine and food. While the third was gone, the other two formed a plan to stab the third man to death, in order to get his share of the gold. But the third one, still in town, formed a plan to kill the other two men (to get their share) and bought a bottle of poison. When all three men came together at last, all of the plans were put into action. The first and second men stabbed the third, killing him, and then drank the wine that the third had poisoned, killing them. So, in the end, they did find death–just not as they had expected. 

So, do I think that the old man was death? No. Actually, I think the old man was the Devil. The old man pointed the three men down the crooked path and said they would meet death at the end of it. The Devil does the same with us–pointing us down the crooked path so that we may fall into death’s claws. The men were filled with greed and made acts of murder. That sounds like the work of a master demon, not death. Okay, if you still need convincing to why I think this isn’t death, here you go; I do not think that death should be portrayed as an old man or a skeleton or a grim reaper. In my mind, death is a child. Why? Because death is an unexpected, feared, and ultimate part of our lives. We all fear it, yeah, but it doesn’t need to be feared. I don’t mean you should go walk in front of a car or jump off a cliff so you can meet death sooner. Most people fear death because they don’t know what comes after it. In my opinion, when you meet death, you shouldn’t run away. Like Harry Potter, you should greet death as an old friend. Or ya know, maybe I’m just crazy. But, no, I don’t think that the old man was Death. That was definitely the Devil. 

English 2: 170


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