By simple definition, a miller is someone who keeps a mill whether it is corn or small grains. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer defines a miller as a member of the degraded lower class, with questionable morals and low manner who is a dealer in grain. Chaucer takes the literal definition of a character and expands it using stereotypical inferences from the medieval time period. In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer utilizes various literary techniques including symbolism, hyperbole, and juxtaposition to help characterize pilgrims such as the Miller. The application of these devices helps to develop the collection as a whole by defining and contradicting stereotypes within society. Chaucer uses symbolism to expose something about the pilgrims on this journey. When characterizing the Miller, Chaucer applies many symbols to define him. For example, the Miller’s prologue frequently compares his attributes to a sow. Such as in lines 570 to 572, “And, at its very tip, his nose displayed/ A wart on which their stood a tuft of hair./ Red as the bristles in an old sow’s ear.” The comparison made between the Miller and the sow indicate how slovenly and disdainful he was. Swine are often associated with filth and disgrace, which characterizes the Miller. Another use of symbolism is found when the Miller is compared to a fox in Line 568. “His beard, like any sow or fox, was red.” This connection can be made because of the way the Miller conducts his work. He is cunning, like a
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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.
The Canterbury Tales were written and pieced together in the late 1380's, early 1390's. The author of the book is Geoffrey Chaucer. When considering the structure of the tales, one can deduce that they were put together using Framework Narrative, a very unique style of writing. The opening prologue speaks of 29 pilgrims, including Chaucer, who are all on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. All of them are seeking a certain shrine for spiritual cleansing, and relief. The journey was to be long, but in the end it would all be worth it. Chaucer's social views and prejudices are revealed through his description of the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales are some of the most widely read and anthologized pieces of medieval poetry. These tales are generally celebrated and enjoyed because of the author’s use of wit and satire, as Chaucer often uses word play and characterization to deliver hard-hitting, yet entertaining truths about his time period. This is the case in “The Miller’s Tale,” which portrays the story of a carpenter with an adulterous wife and the shenanigans that take place during and after one of her affairs. After closely examining “Absalom’s Revenge,” the last section of this tale, it is clear to see that Chaucer uses language, puns, and other writing techniques to provide a commentary on the lewdness of some who lived during the Middle Ages.
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
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
In the prologue Chaucer talks about many of the characters. He often tells stories and describes how they act and how they are. From being members in the church to having a good and bad reputation in the town, all the characters are unique in their own way. Chaucer describes the summoner, pardoner, and the friar by using indirect characterization in each of their stories.
The Canterbury Tales is a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1392. In this poem each character tells four stories, two on the way there and two on the way home, to provide entertainment for the people on the pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral. One part of Chaucer’s tales that truly stands out is the character prologue where he introduces all of the characters on the pilgrimage and conveys the narrator’s opinions of them using satire and other literary devices. Of characters that Chaucer’s narrator describes, two are the Parson and the Friar. Both of the characters share similarities in their social status and job position however greatly contrast in morals and character. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses contrasting characteristics to convey an idea that teaches that power does not always lead to corruption.
In the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer introduces a variety of characters with a multitude of personalities. From the despicable Summoner to the abrasive Miller, these characters are created with their own personalities and their own human failings. One common fault that characters share is hypocrisy. From pretending to be wealthy to cheating the poor out of money, hypocritical tendencies are abundant in the Canterbury Tales. Throughout the story, Chaucer ridicules the human criticizes the human failing of hypocrisy through the examples of the Pardoner, the Merchant, and the Friar.
from the barn rafters, and to cut the tub from the roof of the barn
There is many similarities through the tales in the Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer. All of the tales can easily be related to another tale through characters, symbolism, the plot, or morals. Some examples of these relations can be found in The Millers Relating to the Knights tales with almost Identical Characters. And The Franklin's Tale is similar to the Pardoner's Tale with Greed. And, The Knights Tale, The Miller’s Tale, and The Pardoners tale are similar in many different aspects. The tales in The Canterbury Tales can all be related to one another, find a unique match, making each tale be a pair or even a triple with another story.
The personality of the Miller is described as vulgar and corrupt. The color of his hair symbolizes the lust and trickery in his personality. In the description of the Miller, Chaucer describes the types of jokes the Miller would often tell. As a jester, the Miller would often tell jokes related “...[about] sin and ribaldries” (Chaucer 563). With his red hair similar to the color of fox’s fur, the red foxes symbolizes trickery. Both a fox and the Miller have the natural talent of trickery. He plays tricks on his customers by earning money from “...[stealing] corn and full thrice [charging] his fees” (Chaucer 564). Through his occupation he has total control over the cost of grain. During Chaucer's time, it is hard to set change in social statuses and behavior. Breaking medieval stereotypes, the Miller, a lower class man gains more income easily than an upper class man. Also, the Miller has no reasoning of what is socially acceptable to say. His jokes would offend those who meet with
Noted earlier, the Miller’s tale is enjoyable due to its qualities of both entertainment and the idea of learning a lesson. In the prologue, the miller is defined as a filterless, rowdy drunk who speaks whatever comes to his mind. Because of this, he is portrayed as very vulgar and a nuisance since he easily offends others. The Reeve introduces the Miller at the beginning of the story as a drunk, impulsive, bully as he
Negative imagery is used by Chaucer to undermine the effects of the narrator’s words. The manners practiced by the prioress are described by
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.
In the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer gives a detailed description of what life was like in Medieval times . In the “Prologue”, the reader comes to better understand the people of the time period through the characters words and actions. Chaucer uses a variety of groups of society to give the reader a deeper insight into the fourteenth century Pilgrims customs and values. Through the Court, Common people and the Church, Gregory Chaucer gives a detailed description of ordinary life in the medieval times.