Re Read The Ending Of The Miller's Tale. How Far Do You Consider It To Be A Satisfying Conclusion?

834 words - 3 pages

Following its fast, action-packed pace, "The Miller's Tale" climaxes with a series of causes and effects and ends rather abruptly with Chaucer's short summary on the sequence of events. On one hand the brusque ending of "The Miller's tale" is appropriate to the nature of The Miller himself, we know him to be a drunk, rude man who, "abide no man for his curtsies," and this ending seems to reflect that behaviour. However on the other hand, as the reader, do we feel "The Miller's Tale," is missing an imperative moral?

In "The Miller's Prologue," Chaucer intervenes in his own voice to remind the audience the Miller is a "cherle," and if they want "gentilllesse," "moraralitee" and "holinesses," they should "turne over the leef," and choose a different tale that would suit their taste. Through distancing himself from the tale, Chaucer shows he has no didactic purpose for the tale and therefore he has not written it to teach "moraralitee." Chaucer is not trying to condemn or recommend the behaviour of his bawdy characters, his objective for the tale is to entertain, "eek shal nat maken earnest of game." So we should be satisfied with Chaucer's lack of morality in the ending of the tale as it is in Chaucer's opinion and should not take seriously what is meant in jest.

However in "The Miller's Tale," Chaucer presents us with characters that are punished for being deeply flawed. Therefore as readers we naturally make our own moral judgements on the characters' behaviour. Chaucer indicates to us that the setting of "The Miller's Tale," is religious, through details such as Absolon's occupation as a, "parissh clerk" or John fetching the wood from the monastery. However Chaucer makes it clear through using this religious backdrop for "The Miller's Tale," the society is full of hypocrisy and the characters in the tale are irreligious. We see this through John's superstitious behaviour, "Help us Seinte Frideswide!" and Absolon's mistreatment of his duties as a parish clerk, "and many a lovely look on hem he caste."

However it isn't just through their irreligious behaviour that we see their faults. John is confident, complacent and ignorant and through this he is completely taken in by Nicholas's trick and believes that he and Nicholas will be, "lordes al oure lyfe of al the world." We are told that John is also a "jalous," man who holds his wife, Alison "narwe in cage." Therefore when John ends up with a...

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