The idea that literature should be written to inspire a sense of morality in the reader has never been uncommon. Poetic justice is the device used to create a moral compass for a piece of literature. In essence, poetic justice occurs when a character gets exactly what they deserve. This concept is most prominent in situations where a character commits a misdeed and is met with punishment of equal gravitas. The ideas of poetic justice are consistently apparent throughout literary history; so, it is no surprise that Geoffrey Chaucer presents the idea in his own The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer’s “The Miller’s Tale” epitomizes the ideas of poetic justice. Each major character is subjected to a degree of punishment in return for their actions. Unlike stereotypical poetic justice, characters in “The Miller’s Tale” are not punished solely on their actions; but, for their failure to meet society’s expectations.
“The Miller’s Tale” is a Fabliau. Chaucer illustrates how a fabliau can be a parody of romance. This kind of medieval literature usually involves someone getting cheated on. Sex in association with women is a major component in Chaucer’s Humorous tale. “The Miller’s Tale” main character Alisoun is the divine, she is the center of courtly love. Joseph D. Parry Analyzes “The Miller’s tale” in his article “Interpreting female agency and responsibility in the Miller's Tale and the Merchant's Tale”. Parry’s explications of Alisoun being solely responsible for John, Nicholas and Absolon’s misfortunes are solid but not completely accurate.
When Nicolas, the young devious student began living with the two, it was only a matter of time before infidelity occurred. The double entendre is used to create a meaning of innocence at the same time as promiscuity. Chaucer goes into tremendous detail in regard to Alison her beauty and sexuality. "A girdle wore she, barred and striped, of silk. An apron, too, as white as morning milk About her loins, and full of many a gore;" (Lines 127-129). The reader is imagining this beautiful bodied woman until he clues them in. "Fair was this youthful wife, and therewithal, as weasels was her body slim and small." (Lines 125-126). It becomes very clear to the reader that not only is Alison very slim but slim as a weasel. A weasel is considered sneaky and devious. Chaucer lets the reader know that Alison is not to be viewed ethical.
Misogyny is not only visible in the Miller’s tale, but also in the Wife of Bath’s tale through the very superficial standards set for women by men. The old woman asks that the knight marries her in return for giving him the answer to the riddle and he reacts in disgust and horror, “‘...to take me as your wife…‘Alas and woe is me!...I am ugly and poor…my damnation! Alas, that any of my birth should ever be so foully disgraced!” (Chaucer, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale,” 199-213). The knight is visibly distraught, using words such as “damnation” and “disgraced” when the old woman expresses her wish to marry him. He displays these emotions not because she wants to get married, but because she is ugly and poor. He is worried because an ugly wife will mar his reputation and is a poor reflection of him. This translates to the misogynistic society during the time period where women were seen as property to be shown off, rather than people who deserved respect. The recurring theme of misogyny in these two tales shows that Chaucer does not feel sympathy for the opposite gender, but instead belittles their plight.
Throughout the Canterbury Tales, various characters are introduced and tell a tale, each of which tells a different story. All of the tales are unique and address different issues. “The Miller’s Tale” is the second of the many stories and varies from all of the rest. As seen from the “General Prologue,” Chaucer clearly depicts the Miller as a crude, slobbish man who will say anything. This reputation is held true as the Miller drunkenly tells a story full of adultery and bickering. Despite the scandalous nature of “The Miller’s Tale,” the story also displays some of Chaucer’s prominent beliefs. As “The Miller’s Prologue” and “The Miller’s Tale” are told, it becomes evident that Chaucer is challenging the common roles and behaviors of women, and he is also questioning the effectiveness of social class.
In Chaucer’s “Prologue to the Miller’s Tale”, the Miller’s physically disgusting appearance closely matches his grotesque morality of heart. The prologue opens at the closing of the Knight’s tale, as the Host asks the Monk to rival the tale with a noble story of his own. However, the Miller barges in and doesn’t hesitate to belligerently interrupt the conversation by claiming that he has a noble story of his own to share. Despite attempts to silence the Miller, he proceeds to tell his tale, exhibiting a lack of compassion, respect and self-awareness. His inebriation only fuels the fire, as he continues to illustrate recklessness and disrespect by proclaiming, “I am drunk…If I can’t get my words out, put the blame / On Southwark ale,” (Chaucer 28-30). He takes no responsibility for his actions in blaming his hostile state of mind on the alcohol. Following the Knight’s noble tale, the Miller completely shifts the tone by introducing a story about adultery. Not only is the story inappropriate in its nature, but it also directly insults the Reeve, who is a carpenter by trade. “It is a sin and a great foolishness to injure any man by defamation,” (Chaucer 36-37) yet the Miller “refused to hold his tongue for any man,” (Chaucer 59) and fails to consider his hurtful words. The speaker of the poem warns the reader that the story is bawdy and offensive, which is a testament to the Miller’s vulgar nature. Ultimately, the “Prologue to the Miller’s Tale” introduces the Miller as a
Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” is a collection of over twenty stories told from the perspective of different members of a group of travelers as part of a story telling competition. Each member devises their own tale, ranging anywhere from a tale about chivalry and valor, fittingly told by a knight, to a comedic tale of a cheating wife and all the consequences that her actions bring, told by the miller. Through the act of introducing and telling their tales, each traveler puts themselves on display for the rest of the group and in doing so, reveals much about their true character. One storyteller’s tale in particular stands out in the way it does this: the Wife of Bath. Throughout her lengthy prologue, the Wife of Bath freely portrays herself as an imperfect person. Of herself she gives a complicated account, defending and explaining her many marriages and describing her actions towards her husbands, which were often very shaky morally speaking. She follows up her prologue by telling the story of a young man who, after committing a heinous crime and being sent on a quest to redeem himself, succeeds in this mission and ends up marrying a beautiful woman, living happily ever after. The narrator, who may at first seem to be incongruously paired with her tale, is actually working towards a greater purpose in this juxtaposition. The wife of bath, by following up her
Such an intense reaction to the Miller’s tale—in which someone of the Reeve’s vocation is bested by a younger, more virile man—seems based upon the Reeve’s sudden need to defend his manhood against another man’s slander. By telling a story in which a carpenter is bested by another man sexually, the Miller has wounded the pride of the Reeve, who now must display a story in which a miller is dominated by another man to defend his masculinity. As Angela Jane Weisl explains in “‘Quiting’ Eve:Violence Against Women in the Canterbury Tales”, the need to reclaim his ego informs the Reeve’s desire to “become powerful and thus, violent, masculine” through his warning to the Miller that he might endure corporeal harm (123). By having the Reeve devise to reassert dominance over the Pilgrim Miller in such violent ways before the tale has even begun, Chaucer prefaces the clerk to share the same anxiety over requiting the tale’s miller through sexual
What is Pornography? When asked some people might say, “I can not define it, but I know it when I see it.” The word “Pornography” comes from the Greek for writing about prostitutes. Many people concluded that the Miller’s tale was merely a pornographic story that surrounded four people. This also depended on one’s view of pornography. The Miller’s tale was told by the Miller who was not stable at the time. The Miller’s tale focused on two men, Nicholas and Absolon whose goal is to establish a relationship with Alisoun, the attractive adolescent wife of an older carpenter named John. Alisoun on one hand used old-fashioned romantic strategies such as dressing up in lavish clothes and singing. Nicholas on the other hand tricked John
Pilgrims are journeys that benefit a person religiously. Geoffrey Chaucer is a medieval writer. He wrote the Canterbury Tales to show morals and lessons. In the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer writes about a group of people taking a pilgrim. Before beginning the journey, the Innkeepers proposes a contest of storytelling. The winner of the storytelling contest win a paid for dinner. After the Knight tells his story, the Miller proposes to share his own story. The Miller is a heavy drinker, who often tells inappropriate and vulgar jokes. The Miller’s Tale is a Fabliau, a story involving infidelity and clever tricks. The tale represents the stereotypes of the middle ages and the corruption within relationships.
In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales a storytelling competition is proposed by the Host. In his mind, it was only proper for the Knight to tell his story first. The sneaky Host rigged the drawing of straws and the Knight won the honor of going first. He told a Roman Epic of loyalty and love, set in classical antiquity that portrayed his gallant manner and elevated social class. The Miller's Tale, a parody of the Knight's Tale, came next. The Miller's Tale was more contemporary and left out many of the ideals that were displayed by the characters in the Knight's Tale. This fabliau told by the Miller seemed to debase the Knight's Tale and also to debase the Knight himself.
In the late 1300s Geoffrey Chaucer began wrote The Canterbury Tales, a story which follows the religious journey of twenty-nine people, who represent many aspects of Medieval society, to the Canterbury Cathedral in southeast England. While on the pilgrimage the host of the tavern, where all the pilgrims meet, suggests that the pilgrims each tell a story for the group’s entertainment. Chaucer intended for all the voyagers to tell two stories, but he unfortunately died before he could finish the book and only got to write one story apiece. However, the goal of the storytelling contest is to tell the most moral story possible, and the one who wins receives a free meal, which the rest of the pilgrims will pay for. Although some of the other stories have good moral messages, “The Pardoner’s Tale” and “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” are on different ends of the moral spectrum. “The Pardoner’s Tale” focuses on a pardoner who preaches against greed. While “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” exemplifies what all women want in their relationships: power. Although both “The Pardoner’s Tale” and “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” demonstrate the value of the opinion of elders, the stories differ in their moral values and their storyteller’s values.
In The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, each character, such as the Pardoner, Wife of Bath, and the Franklin, epitomizes their spirit and reputation through the tales they tell. The Pardoner uses his tale as a gimmick to make money, because he is a greedy man. The way his tale illustrates each sin, every listener can relate to the three brothers and feel their guilt. The Wife of Bath’s Tale expresses her own values in the way the Knight is given a second chance after raping the young virgin. This greatly undermines her idea of the value of women. Because the Wife of Bath is so sexual, and lacks respect for her self, the Knight’s actions and forgiveness represent her own attitude on men versus women. Lastly, The
In Chaucer’s famous novel: The Canterbury Tales, he describes many characters in a satirical way, while others he describes with complete admiration. The narrator (a constructed version of Chaucer himself) is staying at the Tabard Inn in London, when a large group of about twenty-nine people enter the inn, preparing to go on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. After the narrator talks to them, he agrees to join them on their pilgrimage. Although, before the narrator progresses any further in the tale, he describes the circumstances and the social rank of each pilgrim. There are two characters in these tales of the same social class, but Chaucer’s opinion on them vary greatly. These two characters are the beloved Parson, and the loathed Pardoner.
Although Alison makes it known that she has married for economic privilege, she also acknowledges that her sexual desire is relevant to marriage. She makes an argument that there is no commandment regarding virginity and that everyone knows "counseling is not commandment" (185, line 67). While it "pleases some to be pure, body and soul" Alison doesn't have this issue. Because it is not a commandment to remain a virgin and she doesn't have the issue of guilt regarding sex, she feels that it is her right to enjoy it. Using humor, Chaucer has Alison point out that genitals were not made merely for "purgation of urine" either and that she will make use of the abilities that God gave her for satisfaction (187, lines 119-120). She believes that it is her right to have physical pleasure, asserting, "In marriage I'll use my equipment as