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Geoffrey Chaucer – The Miller´s tale

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At the beginning of my essay I would like to mention one important fact about Chaucer. He lived in Middle Ages and was a courtier what determined him to be careful in his writing. Because of this reason it is possible to find some secret meanings in his stories. I will try to find the one which is hidden in the Miller´s tale, although I´m not sure whether I´m able to do that.

At first I would like to tell you what is this story about. The main characters are John – an old carpenter, Alisoun – John´s young wife, Nicholas – young clerk and Absolon – the village dandy. This comic story begins with the fact that Nicholas fell in love with Alisoun. He makes her advances and she accepts it. They trick John into thinking that the flood is going to come and plan to escape in kneading tubes John prepared. John is asleep in one of those tubes and the young pair is in the bedroom. At that moment Absolon – the second man who wants to get Alisoun – comes. Alisoun promises him a kiss but she only puts her backside out of the window. Absolon realizes that he has made a mistake kissing it and gets a piece of the hot iron from the smith. He returns to the window and wants another kiss. This time Nicholas puts his backside out of the window. Absolon touches it with the iron and Nicholas screames for water. Old John awakes and thinks that the flood has come. He falls out of the tube and breaks his arm. The neighbors, who come to see what happened, think that old John is a fool.

I must confess that I like this funny tale. But what is hidden in it? I think that Chaucer – a big critic of the society – criticizes here the relationships. He tries to show how unwise it is to force young women to marry old husbands. That´s clear that they won´t be happy with them and that they will try to find some younger lover. The second point of this story appears to be in the behaviour of Nicholas and Alisoun, who cheat Absolon with the kisses. The story reflects the old truth - who wants to hurt someone is hurt more in the end. The third message of this story - according to what I think – is that the person, who is harmless, seems sometimes to be the worst in the end. Poor John who didn´t do anything wrong (except trusting his wife) is now seen as a fool.


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