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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 irritate and embarrass one another but in varying forms of humiliation. Also both of their stories show strong evidence of poetic justice towards different offenders.Love to both the Miller and the Reeve is frequently associated with beauty, lust, and sex. There vision of love is consistent in both stories; they care mostly about the women's figure. This can be seen in both stories by the way that the women are described. Both of the story tellers do not offer much insight into the women's intelligence or mental characteristics. This can be seen in "The Miller's Tale" when the Miller writes, "She was a fair young wife, her body was slender" (90), and in "The Reeve's Tale" when the Reeve writes, "Her rump was broad, her breasts were round and high" (110). The two stories contrast in how the women act towards the men. The Miller describes Alison as having, "a lecherous eye" (90). In contrast the Reeve refers to Molly as, "the parson of the town" (110). These traits would show why Alison would be more likely to be aggressive to get what she wants than Molly.The men in "The Miller's Tale" and "The Reeve's Tale" both feel a strong initial attraction to the women, but both women respond differently to the unrestrained remarks. Nicholas initially grabs Alison saying, "Unless I have my will of you, I'll die of secret love" (91). Alison initially responds to this by threatening to yell, but eventually gives in to his demands. The clerks on the other hand seem to deal with women that are more accepting. Alan, in his conquest for Molly, finds her to be very accepting. This is shown when the Reeve writes, "And ere she saw him, he had drawn so nigh it was too late for her to give a cry" (115). When John tricks the miller's wife she does not hesitate and describes it as, "It was the merriest fit in all her life" (116).The Miller and the Reeve through their tales are trying to embarrass each other. Their...

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