This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Discuss Chaucer's Comic Method In The Miller's Prologue And Tale

2121 words - 8 pages

Discuss Chaucer's comic method in the Miller's Prologue and Tale.
Combine your personal response with reference to other critical
opinion at relevent points in your argument.

The Miller's Tale is undoubtedly Chaucer's most crude and vulgar work,
but how far did Chaucer intend for there to be a moral to his story?
Are we supposed to sympathise with the jealous but 'sely' carpenter
when the wife whom 'he lovede moore than his lyf' is unfaithful to
him? Should we take pity on Absolon when his 'love-longynge' leads him
to the riotous 'misplaced kiss'? We are warned not to 'maken ernest of
game' in the Miller's Prologue, and we are also forewarned that the
Miller's language and the content of the story may be offensive due to
the ' ale of Southwerk'. By this point, it is clear that this is
nothing but an amusing story, told purely for pleasure by a drunken
and high-spirited miller. Elizabeth G. Melillo agrees in her essay
that 'it seems a shame to do anything with the Miller's Tale except
laugh heartily! To insert too much intellectual analysis may rob this,
the best of 'dirty' stories of its charm.'

Chaucer begins by preparing us for the trouble that is to come, by
alerting us to the fact that the carpenter has married a woman much
younger than him, and that 'his wit was rude' - he is an uneducated
and gullible man, with a beautiful young wife. Dissatisfied with
presenting us with the bare fact, Chaucer dedicates 40 lines to an
elaborate description of Alisoun, in order to emphasise just how
attractive she is. As Mc Daniel says, 'She is described in terms of a
wily weasel, a vixen, a young calf; animalistic terms that emphasize
her youthful sensuality'. By informing us of her 'likerous ye',
Chaucer establishes that she is unlikely to resist the advances made
on her by other men. This first part of the Miller's Tale is simply to
set the foundations for what is to come.

As predicted, Alison succumbs to the first man that attempts to charm
her. The frank way in which 'Hende Nicholas' 'heeld hire harde by the
hanchebones' as a means of seduction is comic in itself, as is her
promise that she will 'be at his comandement' at every opportunity.
Already, we can laugh at the cuckolded carpenter, who tried to keep
her 'narwe in cage'.

Ironically, it is to the 'paryssh chirche' that Alisoun ventures after
her adulterous morning, to search her conscience. This new setting
allows Chaucer to introduce us to Absolon. Unlike his flattering
description of Alisoun, Chaucer mocks 'joly Absolon' all the way
through his introduction of him. He is portrayed as an elegantly
dressed, prim man, who takes great care over the way he looks - 'crul
was his heer, and as the gold is shoon, and strouted as a fanne large
and broud. Ful streight and evene lay his joly shode' He is a 'myrie
child', and is fond of dancing 'with his legges casten to and fro'. We
are told about the fine, high-pitched singing voice which he uses to
try...

Find Another Essay On Discuss Chaucer's comic method in the Miller's Prologue and Tale

Chaucer's The Cantenbury Tales: Comparison Of The Knights Tale To The Miller's Tale

1259 words - 5 pages ) "The Miller's Tale," falls under the genre of the fabliau, "a short satiric tale dealing with middle and lower class characters delighting in the ribald." Chaucer use of "The Miller's Tale," completely contradicts the ideal values expressed by the Knight and as result, Chaucer is able to rewrite the conventions of "The Knights Tale" and produce new meaning for both tales.Chaucer's "true, perfect, gentle Knight" (Chaucer, 5) opens the story-telling

Masculinity in The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale

2391 words - 10 pages and which truly marks out Chaucer's genius.   However, the masculine presence in the prologue and tale is not limited merely to historical figures, whose contribution is more thematic than personal. The chief male components are Alisoun's five husbands - creations that we presume are Chaucer's own. The first three of these are not distinguished as individuals, but the Wife informs us that they were rich and old - in the plainest

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - Enslavement and Freedom in the Knight's Tale

2099 words - 8 pages Enslavement and Freedom in the Knight's Tale        In the Knight's Tale, Palamon and Arcite's lives are filled with adversity and enslavement .  Not only do they live in  physical imprisonment, bound as prisoners of war in a tower, but they fall into Love's imprisonment, which leads them to suffer the decrees of cruel classical gods .  Cooper writes that there "can be no moral or metaphysical justice in the different fates that befall

Miller's Tale and the Reeve's Tale

845 words - 3 pages In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer relates two stories; "The Miller's Tale" and "The Reeve's Tale." They are two stories that portray what love means to the Miller and the Reeve. Their perceptions of love and women are very similar, but the women act differently from one another. The men in the tales fall in love with the women's beauty, but the women respond differently to their actions. The Miller and the Reeve through their stories try to

Sex, Love, and Religion in The Miller's Tale, by Chaucer

1302 words - 5 pages the story by, “This tale is doon, and God save al the rowte!”(745). The incorporation of religion showed the reality of humanity and ignorancy of Nicolas’ idea of himself being a God like figure, for example fooling people to get his desires. Religion in "The Miller's Tale" seems mainly to be something characters use and abuse in order to get what they want. Absolon forgoes piety for attention when he takes a role in the local miracle play

Satire of the Knight in the Prologue and Knight's Tale of "The Canterbury Tales"

2367 words - 9 pages more subtly satirized. Chaucer satirizes knights and chivalry in two different ways: in the prologue and in the Knight's Tale. The first way in the prologue is with the pilgrim Knight's character. Chaucer wanted to present a realistic knight, but he also wanted to give the Knight some very real, and obvious flaws, as a sort of social commentary on the way that knight's were perceived in the 14th century. To that end, he gave the Knight

Human or Husk: Female Agency in The Knight's Tale and The Miller's Tale

2308 words - 10 pages Chaucer's 'The Miller's Tale.'" Human Sexuality. New York: Bloom's Literary Criticism, 2009. 95-104. [ILL] Forbes, Shannon. "'To Alisoun Now Wol I Tellen Al My Love-Longing': Chaucer's Treatment of the Courtly Love Discourse in the Miller's Tale." Women's Studies 36.1 (2007): 1-14. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 May 2013 Hansen, Elaine Tuttle. Chaucer and the Fictions of Gender. Berkeley: U of California P. 1992. Print. (Kennedy Library PR1928.W64

Comparing and Contrasting "The Miller's Tale" and "The Reeve's Tale"

947 words - 4 pages "The Miller's Tale" and "The Reeve's Tale", two stories in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, are fabliaux, bawdy and comic tales that build to a ridiculous and complex climax usually hinging on some joke or trick. One parallel observed between the two stories is the unfaithfulness of the wife in marriage. Another similarity between the two stories is the theme of a husband who tries to keep control of his wife. In addition, the

Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Prologue To The Canterbury

352 words - 2 pages in order to demonstrate the corruption of the church, the nun being at the higheest echelon and the friar at the lowest. The Oxford cleric and Sergeant at the Law represent the emergence of education during such times. Though all of Chaucer's characters characters are fictional, he manipulates to get his point across about society's changes in the fourteenth century.Chaucer's Knight is a perfect example of the decline of chivalry. He is at the

Foreshadowing "The Miller's Tale"

755 words - 3 pages Foreshadowing the Miller's Tale In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Chaucer the author and Chaucer the pilgrim are both quick to make distinctions between characters and point out shortcomings. Though Chaucer the pilgrim is meeting the group for the first time, his characterizations go beyond simple physical descriptions. Using just twenty-one lines in the General Prologue, the author presents the character of the Miller and offers

The Miller's Tale-Chaucer

1913 words - 8 pages its teller's emotional world. These two tales, the first of Chaucer's fabliaux, parody the Knight's tale, then parody and "quit" each other.Before the Miller's Tale there is a surprise switch in the principle that orders the tales, a switch from decorum to aggression. After this switch, the Host still calls upon ten of the pilgrims to tell tales, but there is no further ordering by rank, and we are always prepared for a surprise. However, out of

Similar Essays

Discuss Whether Or Not Chaucer's The Miller's Tale Is Accurately Described As A Fabilau

1016 words - 4 pages coarsely comic piece. To do this we must look at the humour within the tale, the aim/intended impact of the tale and also its coarseness of language and description. The miller's tale is used as a parody of the knight's tale, which is a joke aimed at the 1st fictional audience of the pilgrims travelling towards Canterbury. The coarseness in this is self evident, the parody is based on the fact the knight's tale was gentle and about chivalry

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales Marriage As Portrayed In Merchant's Prologue And Tale

1213 words - 5 pages Marriage as Portrayed in The Merchants Prologue and Tale   The story of Januarie's marriage to May and her subsequent infidelity with Damyan allows for not only Chaucer's view of marriage to come through, but also includes the opinions of contemporary writers. Chaucer allows his views to be made known as the narrator and his views could also be said to infiltrate the speeches of the Merchant. Justinus and Placebo's views are also

Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale" As A Parody Of Courtly Love

672 words - 3 pages physical fruition; it is more holy than that. Her, as well as my, marriage is beneath our love, our love of admiration and complete devotion. She will swoon for me as I shall fight for her, and our spirits are forever intertwined. Physical love and lusty temptation are too worldly for us.These would be the thoughts of any proper knight toward his lady. "The Miller's Tale" is a satire of courtly love and its actuality in times contemporary the

The Miller's Tale Chaucer's Response To Society's Flaws

977 words - 4 pages In the Canterbury Tales, we are shown an avid description of the medieval world as Chaucer viewed it. Chaucer introduces us to various conflicts of the time, including the rivalry between men and women, the corruption of the Catholic Church, and class struggles. One of my favorite tales in the novel was the Miller's Tale. This tale depicted the struggle occurring in love and marriage, and also youth and old age.In this story we are told of a