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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 young and vain Oxford student named Nicholas. Alison is the young and attractive wife of an older carpenter named John. Their relationship is one of necessity, as we are led to believe that Alison simply married John for his money while he married her because of her external beauty and youth. Nicholas is a smooth talker, and decides that he must bed Alison, regardless of her marriage. A peculiar fact that we witnessed was the inconspicuous reference to the Wife of Bath, as the main character carries her name (Alison) and also married for money. Absalon is a parish clerk, materialistic, and also seeks the affection of the young wife (even though he is studying to become a priest and she is married). The tale continues as Nicholas concocts this crazy story simply for one night with Alison, whom also wants to have Nicholas- since she's bored and unhappy with her older and unattractive husband. Nicholas enters this trance-like state, and eventually garners the attention of his landlord, John. Nicholas tells the story of how he has just spoken with the Lord, and how a gigantic flood is coming to cleanse the earth of the sinners. John goes into a panic, but Nicholas tells him that he was also told that the three of them would be saved. Nicholas tells John to begin construction of three simple tubs in order for them to survive the one night of the flood. John hurries away and begins work immediately, and hours later, Nicholas tells the couple that the flood will begin. Alison enters her tub, as does Nicholas and John. However, since John has been laboring all day, he immediately begins to sleep. This gives Nicholas and Alison their chance. They escape down to the bedroom and begin their affair. Soon afterwards, we hear Absalon outside their window serenading Alison and asking her for a kiss. Alison refuses, but finally gives in...except he doesn't kiss her lips! Absalon, ashamed and humiliated, goes off in search of revenge. He borrows a hot poker, asks again, this time offering a golden ring. Nicholas complies, but places his rear end out the window- and gets the hot poker! He yells out "Water! Help!" To which the sleeping carpenter awakens, falls off the roof, and chaos ensues. Nicholas and Alison go outside and try to pass off John as a lunatic, as he rambles on about the...

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