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

The True Face Of Lowbrow Humor

743 words - 3 pages

Following Chaucer’s description of the Miller in the General Prologue, The Miller’s Tale reveals a man who is more complex than his appearance initially suggests. The Miller’s Tale is a fabliau that consists of events of “cuckoldry,” “foolishness,” and “secrets” (1720, 1718, and 1719). Given the bawdy humor of his story, the Miller would seem to be crude and superficial. As the tale unfolds, it depicts how the norms of society trap John’s wife, Alison, in her marriage. Despite his fondness for vulgarity and fraudulence, the Miller is surprisingly sympathetic toward Alison.
In his attempt to outdo the Knight, the Miller sacrifices decorum for the sake of entertainment, demonstrating his coarse and rebellious nature. The Miller’s bawdy imagery gradually becomes more descriptive as his tale progresses. For example, when first traveling with the Miller, Chaucer listens to the Miller bellow “his ballads and jokes of harlotries” and describes him as a “sow,” suggesting that he is a person more of body than of mind (1712). Moreover, Chaucer juxtaposes the Knight’s noble tale with the Miller’s lewd tale to reassert the Miller’s “low-born” perspective (1719). Verifying these expectations, the Miller intentionally calls Nicholas “hendë,” a word which means not only “ready to hand” but also a person who grasps women, since Nicholas “held [Alison] by the haunches,” an action which illustrates the Miller’s coarse nature (1721). The Miller’s application of wit is playful and for the purpose of entertainment. In calling his tale of lusty escapades “noble,” the Miller mocks the Knight’s tale of courtly love (1718). Thus, in his bawdy rebellion, the Miller criticizes the ideals of society.
The Miller’s deceptive qualities influence the characters’ actions in his story. During his pilgrimage with the Miller, Chaucer describes the Miller as a “fox,” who cheats people by “steal[ing] corn and charg[ing] for it three times” (1712). Similarly, the Miller’s characters use guile as frequently as the Miller does. In their affair, both Nicholas and Alison devise a plan to trick the jealous John. While speaking to John alone, Nicholas warns him of a flood to come and states he “must not waste words on the wise;” however, Nicholas tricks the so-called “wise” carpenter and has intercourse with John’s wife after...

Find Another Essay On The True Face of Lowbrow Humor

The Filipino Sense of Humor Essay

1175 words - 5 pages The Filipino Sense of Humor Text Box: ERAP ON THE PHONE: Erap: Hello, I will like to inquire how long is the flight to San Francisco? Operator: Just a minute sir… Erap: Thank you! (klik) To joke is to tell a story or short series of words spoken or communicated with the intent of being laughed at or found humorous by the listener or reader. Here is an example: Everyday in the Philippines (or anywhere in

The Secret of Seinfeld’s Humor Essay

639 words - 3 pages Review: The secret of Seinfeld’s Humor: The significance of the Insignificant The Secret of Seinfeld’s Humor: The significance of the Insignificant, an article written by Jorge Gracia briefly outlines what the author believes to be the origin of the humour with which the popular television show Seinfeld achieved such broad based success. A show that embraced the ordinary of everyday life, while atypically avoiding the mainstay of violence and

The Dark Humor of Hamlet

748 words - 3 pages The Dark Humor of Hamlet       Hamlet's black humor is a direct result of too much anger: it leads to the alienation, and finally the death of the people who know him, and eventually causes his own death. First, Hamlet's reaction his mother's marriage right after Old Hamlet's funeral shows that his anger alienates him from his mother. Second, his reaction to Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is his indirect anger to the world

The Wierdest Sense of Humor

833 words - 3 pages longer. I can still hear him laughing about how he hoped that the lesson worked.Another example of his weird humor happened when my son was about four years old. I was teaching him how to answer the phone. My dad knew this little fact and called one morning. Miguel answered the phone. The next thing I knew he slammed down the phone and ran down the hall crying his little eyes out. Just then, the phone rang again. I answered it this time. It was

Phoniness, The True Face And The False Face in "Cather in the Rye" by Salinger

635 words - 3 pages What happen if everyone in the world is wearing a mask?That is exactly what this world is; everyone wears a mask. Mostpeople we see every day have their true identity hidden behind afacade. Although a true identity cannot be divulge just by looking,but with a careful scrutiny of one's character will reveal to whatis behind the facade. Equivalent to what happened in J.D. Salinger'snovel The Catcher in the Rye.Holden Caulfield, a typical teenager

The Face of Batle

668 words - 3 pages John Keegan’s The Face of Battle (Pimlico, 2004), first published in 1976, is an established military history classic. Keegan vividly conjectures the actions of the lowest level of soldier in his examination despite never serving in battle, or even in an armed force. He begins by expressing guilt at teaching junior officers about combat but quickly transitions to the importance of a liberal education of a military professional. He concludes his

The Face of Evil

1599 words - 6 pages words come to mind when you hear the word "pedophile?" Monster, degenerate, criminal are just a few words that you might think of. In Lolita, Nabokov takes a man who might be considered to be all of these things and puts a face on him. Humbert is the main character of this novel and, therefore, has a very round personality. His history, emotions, and moods are all depicted in this story. Nabokov's choice to give a personality to someone who

The Brief Etymology of the Word Humor

926 words - 4 pages human race to communicate effectively with one another. Therefore, it is not surprising that many words have dual meanings. For instance the word, humor, has expanded from its original definition to encompass the interpretation available in modern English. The following is a brief view of the complex etymology of the word humor. Presently, people use the word, humor, to describe an event or person that one finds comical. According to The American

A brief history of the word humor

719 words - 3 pages transform to meet the needs of the civilization for which they serve. For instance the word, humor, has expanded from its original definition to encompass what it means in present day English. The following is a brief view of the transition the word humor. According to Merriam Webster’s Student Dictionary online, the word humor finds its roots in the Latin word umor, which means moisture. In addition, the early French language contained the word

The Face Of Virtue/The Face Of Evil:

2551 words - 10 pages John Machiorlatti and Amanda Chartier Review of ?Tartuffe? Theatre 402 October 30, 2001 The Face of Virtue/The Face of Evil: Tartuffe Brings Laughter and a Lesson to the Power Center Friday evening?s performance of Moliére?s Tartuffe, presented by Minneapolis?s Theatre de la Jeune Lune company, was a thoroughly entertaining display of Renaissance-period drama incorporating modern theatrical practices to create a wonderfully contemporary

The Face Of Virtue/The Face Of Evil:

3236 words - 13 pages John Machiorlatti and Amanda Chartier Review of ?Tartuffe? Theatre 402 October 30, 2001 The Face of Virtue/The Face of Evil: Tartuffe Brings Laughter and a Lesson to the Power Center Friday evening?s performance of Moliére?s Tartuffe, presented by Minneapolis?s Theatre de la Jeune Lune company, was a thoroughly entertaining display of Renaissance-period drama incorporating modern theatrical practices to create a wonderfully

Similar Essays

The True Face Of Unethical Humor

873 words - 3 pages Following Chaucer’s description of the Miller in the General Prologue, The Miller’s Tale reveals that the Miller is more complex than his appearance initially suggests. Given its bawdy and humorous nature, the Miller’s story consists of events of “cuckoldry,” “foolishness,” and “secrets” (1720, 1718, and 1719). As the teller of such a tale, the Miller would immediately be classified as a crude man, interested only in the physical appeal

The Use Of Humor Essay

1012 words - 5 pages Humor is portrayed as the main theme of the two essays by Margaret Atwood, Female Body, and Why We Crave Horror Movies by Stephen King. However, due to different subject matter being discussed, the humor employed in each is dissimilar in many ways. The essay by Atwood is written in relation to the body of a female in which she manages to give the readers a sensitivity of the female body with a comparison of a female mentality to that of a man

The Humor Of Flannery O'connor Essay

1826 words - 7 pages [...] that Mrs. Freeman was a lady and that she was never "ashamed to take her anywhere" (Diyanni 172). The reader is inclined to laugh even harder at this, a terrible irony, after having already established both ladies as simple, "good country people." Of course, most of the true irony or humor found in O'Connor's stories is not found in the immediate and obvious. If we were to consider only Mrs. Hopewell and Mrs. Freeman in the context in which they

The Cynical Humor Of Hamlet Essay

721 words - 3 pages The Cynical Humor of Hamlet       A horrible event, such as a death in the family, can cause a cynical outlook on life. “Hamlets' hubris is shown through his cynical humor towards others” (Adelman 164). Hamlet uses humor to escape his cynical reality in regards to Polonius, Ophelia's father, Ophelia his true love, and Gertrude, his mother the queen. These three people help lead Hamlet to his eventual downfall.   Hamlet's