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Fabliau In The Millers Tale

Decent Essays
On the pilgrimage to Canterbury, the Knight started off with his romantic story about two lovesick men fighting over a lady. Chaucer chose to follow this with the “Miller’s Tale” that is full of dirty humor. The Miller is drunk so he is able to get away with the dirty puns and jokes he tells. The “Miller’s Tale” is an example of a fabliau, a short humorous narrative. Fabliaux include sex, adultery, drinking, swearing, farting, and anything that would create a stark contrast between what would take place amongst courtly love in a royal court and what went on between peasants in more rural areas. Even though fabliaux talked about the lower class, they were enjoyed by the aristocrats. Thus the Miller is so eager to tell his tale right after the…show more content…
These marriages were often arranged and the woman had no say. Alison is young, innocent, and beautiful, but is stuck with a boring old man. Even though adultery went against the beliefs of the time, female readers are able to sympathize with her and understand why she cheated on John. She was still young and full of life and wanted the chance to live and experience things. Some even argue that John is an dumb old senex amans and that he deserves to be cheated on. Alison knew that she could get away with cheating on John, so she did. Often times the thing holding people back from cheating is the act of getting caught and the judgment from others. Alison knew John would never find out, or even if he did he would probably instantly forgive her. Each of the males are punished at the end of the tale for their actions, but Alison remains unpunished even though she deceived John, slept with Nicholas, and make a joke of Absalom. The Miller and Chaucer show sympathy towards Alison because she is young and encaged in a loveless marriage. Even though Alison commits adultery, Chaucer sets the audience up to feel sorry for her and not John. Chaucer compares Alison to animals to a mouse that is about to be attacked by a cat: “…if she had been a mous / And he a cat, he wolde hir hente anon” (3346-7). Through this analogy, readers place less blame on Alison; it is neither or fault, nor the mouses fault they are attacked. Chaucer is suggesting that even though Alison has a lustful nature, she should not be blamed for her actions because Nicholas threw himself on her. It is not Alison’s fault that she is so lusty. In the end, Nicholas wins Alison through his actions and Absolon does not stand a chance even though he is attempting to follow the characteristics of courtly
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