Which Sins Hold Importance For The Author

In Passus 5 we’re reading about the seven deadly sins making confession. The sins are handled differently and with varying degrees of importance placed on them.

Pride punishes herself for her sinful ways by wearing a hair shirt. A fairly typical punishment of the time that doesn’t sound too bad at first but then I start to imagine it and my imagination makes me itch like crazy.

Next is Lust, represented by the Lecher. Being lustful apparently isn’t meaningful to the author since his punishment is simply to eat one meal and drink only water every Saturday for 7 years. This punishment also seems to have nothing at all to do with lust.

Envy is next with a longer description, implying that this sin holds more meaning to the author. The important thing I took away from Envy’s tale is that being sorry isn’t enough for repentance. Envy states, “I am always ‘sorry … I am seldom anything else” (pg 3 line 126). Envy doesn’t seem to have a punishment other than he will try to do better.

Wrath is next, he tells a story about once being a holy man himself, a friar, and taking pleasure in causing discord among other holy people. This section is rather sexist as Wrath implies that the holy women are easy to trick into wrathfulness while the holy men almost never fall for his tricks. His punishment is to not repeat secrets, which seems like a punishment directly related to wrath, and to not indulge so not to be tempted.

Gluttony comes last and is the longest part of the passus implying that this is the most important sin to the author. Sloth is combined with gluttony. In this part of the story Gluttony is on his way to confess but becomes distracted by his own gluttony on his way. So instead of confessing, he over indulges at a tavern then slothfully sleeps for days. Repentance comes to Gluttony since Gluttony couldn’t make it to him. Gluttony’s punishment is his confession of gluttony and sloth and he will eat only fish on Fridays, which seems like a weird punishment but I guess it is related to the sin.
Greed is left out and isn’t specifically mentioned as a sin. I assume by its lack it is the least important sin to the author or that it is implied in combination with other sins. Perhaps, like Sloth, Greed is part of Gluttony.

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