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Quotes from the Miller’s Tale

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“A riche gnof”p33

A new emerging class bringing conflict to hierarchy emphaised trough word gnof lots of different words Chaucer uses analogue

“deemed himself been lik a cokewold” p34

Prolepsis foreshadows tale builds tension takes away sympathy for John

“he knew nat Cauton” p34

Shows he is not intelligent or educated due to allusion

“Myn housbande is so ful of jalousie”p36

One of John’s flaws emphasised through simile

“The carpenter was goon till Osenay”p39

Associates him with religion and lack of knowledge as large abbey there

“I am adrad, by Seint Thomas, It stondeth nat aright with Nicholas. God shilde that he deid sodeeinly”p40

Black death clich�

Men shoulde nat knowe of Goddes privitee.”p41

Proleptic warning John did not want vernacular bible as reduced Catholic churches power to tell people what to do

“Jhesu Crist and Seinte Benedight, Blesse this hous from every wikked wight, For nightes verye, the whire pater-noster! Where wentestow Seinte Petres soster?”p42

This is part of the night spell part rubbish it is a satirical comment by Chaucher on John embracing his ignorance

“I shal it nevere telle To child ne wyf” p43

Irony as does tell

“As dooth the white doke after hire drake”p45

Emphasises john’s childlike nature as there is a childlike expression and simile employed for him

“to his wyf he tolde his privitee”p46

Ironic told his wife despite promise

“his owene hand he made ladders thre” p46

Ironic brings about his own downfall

“he sente his knave and eek his wenche also, upon his need to London”p47

Unsympathetic believes he is leaving his servants to die

He was holde wood in al the toun”p53

Idiom destroyed his reputation


“Fair was this younge wyf and therewithal as any wezele hir body gent and small”p34

Parody of a courtly lover in a romance has a lyrical quality bathos

“Ful smale ypulled were hire browes two”p34

Cynicism and satire in courtly romances a woman was perfect

“She was ful moore blissful to see than is the newe pere-jonette tree”p35

Associates her with agriculture

“Ful brighter was the shining of hir hewe Than in the Tour the noble yforged newe”p35

Bathos Connotation with money sense of nouveau riche money was becoming increasingly important due to the statue of labourers 1351 forbidding wage rise

“As clerks ben ful subtil and ful queynte And prively he caughte hire by the queynte” p35

Rime Riche emphasises the actions of a churl but words of a courtly lover win Alisoun over

Do wey your handes… She hir love him graunted atte laste and swore hir ooth, by Seint Thomas of kent”p36

Ironic changes her mind after three lines and swears on a saint to commit adultery shows that although religion is part of the fabric of life not everyone is religious

“Yis, God woot, John, I here it every deel”p38

Ironic as she is being sarcastic but actually telling the truth

“I am they trewe, verray,wedded wyf; Go, deere spouse, and help to save oure lyf”p46

Shows Alisoun’s intelligence she can manipulate john and her humour she is not trewe

“Go fro the window, Jakke fool.. Or I wol caste a ston”p49

Can be strong and aggressive

“Derk was the night as pitch, or as the cole And at the windoe out she putte hir hole”p50

Goes from an everyday simile to shocking to emphasises her shocking action


“hende Nicholas”p33

Has lots of meanings such as cunning, secretive, courteous and charming since he is mostly cunning in this tale we can sense the Miller’s approval of him through this word

“Hadde lerned arte, but al his fantasie was turned for to lerne astrologie”p33

Knowledgeable and clever-fashionable at the time and was something Chaucer was interested in he wrote the “Treates of the Astrolabe

“of deerne love he koude and of solas”p33

Shows he is a womanizer but due to the fact he had to take a vow of chastisty whilst he was at the university he had to be secret

“Angelus ad virginem he song”p34

About the annunciation so risqu� proleptic of the adulterous nature of the tale

“leman, love me al atone, Or I wol dyen, also God me save!”p36

Leman is arrogant of him as it is assumption also it had become overused in literature in sexual contexts so it suggests that he wants sexual favours. Dyen is euphemism for orgasm and God me save is ironic as by committing adultery God is going to condem him to hell

“A clerk hadde litherly biset his while,But id he koudde a carpenter bigile”p40

Arrogant prophetic for the 2nd misdirected kiss the language such as litherly reminds us that it is a fablieu so the hero is a trickster not a moral character

“now at Monday next, at quarter night, shal falle a reyn, and that so wilde and wood, that half so greet was nevere Noes flood.”p43

Juxtaposition of biblical story with petit bourgeois details such as exact time contributes to the satirical element of the Canterbury tales at undercutting of middle class pretentiousness emphasises by alliteration of w also ironic as goes against the covenant which Nicholas is aware of as he can speak Latin but John is not as he cannot read Latin but is against the vernacular ironic as he brings about his own downfall

“Thy wyf shal I wel saven, out of doute”p44

Allelogry this adds humour as he means he will save her from a non existent sex life

“doun the ladder stalketh Nicholay”p47

Emphasises his masculinity through the hunting image

“Then Nicholas anon leet fle a fart”p52

Response to courtly lover’s speech

“The hoote kultour brende so his toute” p52

Punished for retelling a joke emphasised through synonym for bottom and reference to Edward III and Isabel the she-wolf of France at Barclay castle


His rode was reed , his eyen greye as goos”p37

Lack of sophisticated similes shows Absalon’s foolishness

“Wel koude he laten blood and clippe and shave”p37

Foreshadows how he knows that women have no beards

“he was somdeel squaymous of farting”p37

Emphasises his effeminate nature as a contrast to Nicholas and is proleptic

“For paramours he thought for to wake”p38

Chaucer prepares us for Absalom’s wooing and his wish to be a courtly lover by using this overused French term found in romantic narratives

“Alwey the nie slie Maketh the ferre leeve to be looth”p39

Aphorism shows Absalom foolishness that he keeps on trying to woo alisoun

“My mouth hath icched al this longe day”p48

Shows his supostition it is comic in a grotesque way

“first he cheweth greyn and licoris” p48

Makes his rejection comical as the description is anti-romantic.licoris means licorice and lecherous underlines and undermines romance as is a parody

But with his mouth he kissed he kiste her naked ers Ful savourly” p50

Emphasises scatological humour and change in Absalom in romance kiss was a powerful symbol and transforms eg Loathly Lady in authurain legends

“Froteth his lippes With dust, with sond,with straw,with clooth,with chippes”p50

Shows him going into crisis the length of the list wmphaises this this is because he has idealised all forms of love

“My soul bitake I unto Sathanas”p50

Absalom’s shock is emohaised through this as hell was incredibly bad for medieval society it is also iron as hell turns out to be a smithy and smithies were often associated with hell

“his hoote love was coold and al yqueynt”p51

Metaphorically described it is proleptic Nicholas will require water to quench his fire

“weep as dooth a child”p51

Shows he is childish

“Of gold…I have thee broght a ring”p52

Role of courtly lover in a false way ironic as symbol of eternal love in medieval society


Can break doors “at a renning with his head”p29

By stressing the physical attributes Chaucer suggests a down to earth man hyperboley empahsies this and his violence and strength suggests he is a symbol of revolution

“thombe of gold”p29

Shows he is cunning and intelligent

“a bagpipe wel koude he blowe and sowne”p29

Suspitious due to this being associated with Scotland and Scottish natural enemies has an obvious intrest in music as is reflected later in the tale with Absalon, Alisoun and Nicholas who “Angelus ad virginem he song”p34

“That I am dronke, I knowe it by my soun…wite it the ale of southwek”p31

Love for ale this could be exaggerated for comic reasons but would clear up some of the elements in the story that do not make sense eg reapering door but overall the tale is remarkably fluent and sophisticated

“He knew nat Catoun”p34

Intelligent and educated as shown through his knowledge of Dionysius Cato

“some better man shal tel us first…I wol speke, or else go my wey”p30

Confident stands up for himself and against social order

“for Christes sweet tree”p51

Blasphemy-more common vernacular bible just portaying shows he is realistic

“The Millere is a cherl,ye knowe wel this”p32

Ironic statement as Chaucer has taken great pains to create a sympathetic multidimensional character

A churl is “A rustic or ill-bred person” yourdictionary.com



Romance and Love

Gulling of the foolish

Mystery and Religion

astonomy, astorlgy abd religion play a large part! [nicholas]

noahs ark with the bath tub and john – john should have known that god promised never to repeat a flood like noahs and nic managed to convince john that god would. look at how men use religion to become wealthy [background reading] look at how chaucer uses satire [mocking/humour/sarcasm] and irony towards religion

Ignorance and knowledge

Social class and feudal hierarchy

Age and Youth


Alison is the representer


Miller’s prologue

Already Tested

1) Nicholas – lines 79 to 112

2) Alison – lines 125 to 162

3) Absolon – lines 206 to 330

4) The fart passage – lines 680 to 715

5) Lo! – lines 503 to 534 summer 07

6) Blessen – lines 340 to 378 January 08

7) Absolon “woos” – lines 579 to 612

8) Nick persuading carpenter – any passage between lines 379 to 492 summer 08


1) “queynte” passage – lines 163 to 198

2) Absolon’s serenade – lines 244 to 282

3) Misdirected kiss – lines 615 to 651

4) Gervey’s – lines 652 to 680

5) Nicholas and Alison described sex – lines 535 to 578

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