The Canterbury Tales By Geoffrey Chaucer

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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer is a collection of 24 stories written during the Middle Ages. The tales were written with the intent of criticizing the functions of societal standards as well as the beliefs of the Church. “The Miller’s Tale,” one the most popular stories, offers unique insights into the customs and practices of the English middle class during the Middle Ages. The story follows the lives of John, Absolon, and Nicholas, three men who are involved with a beautiful woman named Alisoun. The male characters attempt to win over the heart of the beautiful Alisoun, leading to misfortune and despair. However, this misfortune is not distributed evenly, and the characters, with the purest of intents, end the story far worse off than their immoral counterparts. In “The Miller’s Tale,” Chaucer shows that life favors the characters with an inverted moral compass while ultimately destroying those who are more honorable. The parish clerk, Absolon, was depicted as a noble man who was mocked for his courtly nature. In the beginning of the tale, Absolon attempted to win the heart of the beautiful Alisoun with sauve gestures. To woo her, “he sent her sweetened wine, mead, and spiced ale, and wafers piping hot out of the fire... and because she was a townie, he offered money” (3376-3380). His attempt at flattery and courting Alisoun involved patience and offerings of nothing but kindness, music, and riches. Unfortunately, “he had for his labor nothing to scorn. And
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