British Literature H
As the miller is drunkenly trying to compete with the knight’s tale, he volunteers to tell a tale regardless of what others request of him. Once the miller explains what his tale is about, the Reeve quickly protests and claims that the tale is somewhat unethical and morally wrong. The Miller begins his tale by mentioning a young, poor Oxford student named Nicholas and how he lives with an older man, named John. Nicholas pays John to live with him and his young, and stunning eighteen-year-old wife named Alison. Since John frequently goes out of town, Nicholas and Alison develop a strong liking for one another and agree to go behind Johns back and eventually sleep together one night. This task would prove to be very difficult since all three characters live under the same roof. Beside John, Nicholas and Alison have another blockade to overcome in the perish clerk, Absolon, who also has a strong ...view middle of the document...
The night before the flood, all three climb up and lay down in the raft, but once John falls asleep Nicholas and Alison scurry down into the house and finally get what they want. While all of this is going on, Absolon happens to venturing to Alison’s house in hopes of sticking his head in the window and getting a little kiss, but when he sticks his head in Alison’s butt meets him and he kisses her bottom. Out of spite, Absolon tells Alison that he is going back into town to get a gold ring, but he is really purchasing an iron to trick Alison. When Absolon returns and promises her a gold ring in return for a kiss, but this time it is Nicholas’ rear end that meets Absolon’s iron. Nicholas then screams out in pain and John, who was sleeping, thinks that the flood has come. John then cuts the ropes and falls with the raft from the roof of his house. All the townspeople gather around and look at John foolishly when he tried to explain what has happened.
Literally speaking, the Miller’s tale is an example of a fabliau. A fabliau is a type of poem popular during the Middle Ages in France that has to do with humor and is usually in the form of some sort of love story or romance. These poems tend to focus more on the physical and body emphasis, rather than emotional and mental underlying thoughts and actions.
This tale is simply a one of the tales that is less serious. For starters, in the prologue the miller reminds everyone that he is drunk and shouldn’t be responsible for anything that he says. In addition to this, the Host tells us prior to the tale that this is supposedly what the Miller said, but the Host may have not gotten it perfect. A reason the miller could have told this tale is because a fabliau are poems that were more popular in the lower class and the middle class that they used to poke fun at their own social standings. Another reason the Miller could have told a tale like this is because in the Prologue, Chaucer tells us that he is rather untruthful and makes money by stealing from his customers or ripping off customers. Just like the tale dealt with lust, adultery, and essentially being untruthful about everything, the Miller was seen as being just as much of a scheming miller.