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Miller’s Tale and Reeve’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales

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In “The Miller’s Tale” and “The Reeve’s Tale” from The Canterbury Tales, two of the characters are easily comparable. Nicholas, from “The Miller’s Tale”, and John from “The Reeve’s Tale”, have both common ground as well as some differences in their role and action in each story. Their actions are used as an example of the behavior of the time period.

In “The Miller’s Tale”, the scholar, Nicholas is a “close and shy” person who has a talent for “making love in secret”. His talent is illustrated when he turns his eye to the Carpenter’s wife, Alisoun and makes love with her. Similarly, John, from “The Reeve’s Tale”, is described as “Headstrong…and eager for a joke”. John sleeps with the Miller’s wife while another man, Alan, rapes the Miller’s daughter. These characters are similar in that they both have adulterous sexual intercourse with another man’s wife.

In both stories the two men are faced with, or guilty of, dishonesty. In “The Reeves Tale” the Miller cheats John out of a fair amount of grain. Later in the story, John moves the Miller’s baby to confuse the Miller’s wife into sleeping with him. In comparison, in an elaborate attempt to sleep with the Carpenter’s wife, Nicholas tells the Carpenter, “Rain is to fall in torrents, such a scud / It will be twice as bad as Noah’s Flood”. He then tricks the carpenter to build a boat that will carry him and his wife when the rain comes. While the Carpenter waits for the fictional flood he falls asleep. This allowed his wife Alisoun, and Nicholas to sleep together.

In conclusion, the role of these two men in each story is similar but serve well for how the author intended them. The analysis of the two stories shows that they are alike in some ways and different ways. What I carry with me is that each character shows the evil and corruption of the time period it was written.

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