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11. For one thing, each wants what the other has: the old man wants the rioters' youth, and they want his knowledge, since they think he knows Death. The old man is also described as a "restless" wretch, a word that is also used in connection with the three rioters, who are forever searching for new amusements and debaucheries.
The old man expresses a willingness to exchange his worldly goods for a shroud, because he's lived long enough and wants to die. The young men do not realize that they will soon be doing just that, trading their new-found gold for shrouds, since the money the old man points them toward is indeed the embodiment of Death.
12. Without the Pardoner's shameless admission of the dirty tricks he plays on gullible villagers, we would just accept his tale as a moral fable against the excesses of greed, drunkenness, gluttony, and lechery. But he makes it clear that he feels no remorse for any of his evil deeds, so the tale takes on an added dimension of applying to the very person who's telling it. His exhortation to the pilgrims at the end to buy "relics" and contribute money, shows that he hasn't learned anything from the tale he's just told.
13. This can be answered on several levels. You can argue that Chanticleer, not being human, gives Chaucer and us a distance from his plight that allows us to see more clearly what Chaucer is saying about destiny and human nature. Also, look back at the end of the Chanticleer section. Chaucer uses humor, in this case a courtyard of chickens, to underline the fact that all things follow a natural order in which he has an unswerving faith.
Finally, animals and chickens do not, as a rule, undertake latenight discussions with their wives about the dreams they have or the workings of fate and destiny. Perhaps this is a way to get us to listen more closely to the points Chaucer is trying to make.