preview

`` The Miller 's Tale ``

Good Essays
Often in Medieval Literature, we are introduced to a leading female character who takes the backseat to her husband. It is the stereotypical woman of the time, a housewife taking care of the home and children, a belittling husband who controls her every move. It was a time period where this was simply understood, women knew their roles and complied without question; that is how they were seen in life and how they were portrayed in literature. Chaucer’s, “The Miller’s Tale”, defies the stereotypical “repressed” woman; through Alison’s character, she is shown to be a naive woman not letting herself be taken advantage of, acting on impulse and making her own decisions, as opposed to being her husband’s property. When Alison is first…show more content…
However Chaucer add’s more to Alison’s story, changing not only Alison’s image, but the possible image of a reformed housewife. Although resisting at first, Alison enters into an affair with Nicholas. While it is obvious that Nicholas is merely attracted to Allison because of her looks, it can also be interpreted that Alison is doing the same thing. Nicholas is a young clerk, closer to Alison’s age and far more appealing than her husband John. Despite the fact that she know’s it is wrong, Alison enters into the affair because she wants to, she makes the decision for herself, the first signs of her character as a strong woman. As long as John is in the dark about the affair, Alison is more than willing to comply. “ My husband is so jealous that unless you are secretive and watch your time, I know very well I am no better than dead. You must be very sly in this thing.” (Chaucer 3294-3297). It is a complete role reversal to other works of literature. In most works of medieval literature it is the husband that makes a rash decision, disregarding how it will affect his wife. Chaucer reverses the role, making Alison the dominant figure in the marriage as opposed to John. This role reversal manifests Chaucer as an author ahead of his time, portraying a woman as the preeminent figure in a marriage. Alison can not only be looked at as strong, she can be seen as naive and careless. Not only is she admired by Nicholas, she is also craved by Absalom, who greatly desire
Get Access