• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Although the Millers Tale was written over 600 years ago, we still find it funny, why?

Extracts from this document...


The Millers Tale Essay Question - Although the Millers Tale was written over 600 years ago, we still find it funny, why? The Miller's Tale is arguably Chaucer's best work of humour and it strikes the right balance between bawdiness and vulgarity. The setting of the Miller's Tale is very ordinary and therefore we relate to it and is not humorous. The details give verisimilitude to the tale. But the main aspects of humour in The Miller's Tale are the four characters and how they react with each other. First John, the carpenter. He is a very stereotypical carpenter in those times who marries a young woman for her beauty so she can share his riches. He is rich but stupid and his stupidity and gullibility provides the chance for the main practical joke of the tale to take place. John can be compared with the Miller an example of John's stupidity which makes the tale funny is on line 119 'He knew nat Catoun, for his wit was rude' this tells us directly that he was rude. He is also very gullible which also brings humour to the story. We can see this in the way that he believes Nicholas about the flood and builds the boat in the roof (another stupid thing to do because the roof is a stupid place to build a boat!) ...read more.


Absolon is the one suitor that tries to woo Alison that has a traditional romantic attitude to courting. He is the victim of Alison's scorn (on line 600 'Go fro the wyndow, Jakke fool') and receives only one 'kiss' which he realises is not what it appears (on line 626 'But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers'). Absolon's romantic affectations make him appear foolish. The Miller sarcastically notes on how Absolon combed his curly blond hair to prepare himself for Alison, a parody of courtly love and romance and the miller and the carpenter have no use for it. We can also see humour in Absolon in the way that he dresses. From line 205 it describes him in almost as much detail as how Alison is described. He has 'wyndow corven on his shoos' (elegant patterned shoes), 'In hoses rede he wente fetisly' (red stockings), Ful faire and thikke been the poyntes set' (fancy tunic), 'In twenty manere koude he trippe and daunce' (he knew lots of dances), He was somdeel squaymous of fartyng and of speche daungerous' (He was squeamish of farting and of dirty jokes). From this description we can see that he is going to be a comical character and subjected to much ridicule throughout the tale. ...read more.


For example on line 168 when Nicholas, the scholar is trying to woo Alison, he 'caughte hire by the queynte' (grabbed her by the thighs) which we are unsure if Nicholas would do (but later, as Nicholas' crudeness is unfolded, he probably would) but are reminded that the Miller is the story teller so he is probably telling us what he would do. In conclusion, we still find the Miller's tale funny even though it was written over 600 years ago because the characters are so real that we can relate to them. People like The Miller, The Carpenter, Absolon, Nicholas and Alison are all around today and we can identify them in society. The basic love story is so realistic and true to life that we can't help but find it funny. It can be seen on so many different levels, a love story, a moral story, a farce, and mostly a funny story. Another reason why we still find The Miller's Tale funny today is that our sense of humour hasn't changed very much in the last 600 years. We still crave bawdiness and crudeness (basically typical British humour) and find it funny. So, The Miller's Tale can truly be said to still be humorous after 600 years. Rebecca Paine 11DR Chaucer's Millers Tale Essay 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. How does Chaucer's portrait of Alison add to the interest of the poem?

    Making himself seem the fool once again he thinks "he thought it was amiss, for well he wist a woman had no beerd." Absolon would have never dreamed something so awful could happen to him and is horrified, but Absolon being squeamish only adds to the humour.

  2. 'The Miller's Tale' - Geoffrey Chaucer - Character Analysis - Alison

    It is through these associations with animals that Chaucer hints at her animalistic instincts where she would want to mate with another young animal, namely Nicholas, rather than her elderly husband. Alison is conveyed as fresh and fragrant, associated with things of the country and her description builds up an impression of a rural rather than a courtly setting.

  1. The Merchant's Tale -summary

    Januarie is searching for what a wife can bring him in return in terms of personal gain. The bride he eventually selects, "fresshe May", is much younger than January, but serves two purposes for him. In the tale, January states that he wishes to be married because it is God's gift.

  2. The Role of Women in the Miller's and Merchant's Tale.

    She has been "stepped on" by January and now she gets to do the same to him. When January's sight is restored by the Gods, he rightfully accuses her of adultery. In response she acts impertinent and insulted: "'This thank have I for I have maad yow see/ Allas,' quod she, 'that evere I was so kinde!'"

  1. How Is The Character Of Nicholas Presented In 'The Miller's Tale'

    Nicholas is often accountable for the plain-speaking language that would have shocked Chaucer's audience, which the Miller has previously apologised for in the prologue. For example, Nicholas grabs 'hire (Alison) by the queynte'; this blunt anatomical term for the pudenda or genitls would have alarmed the audience in this context.

  2. "How does Chaucer use or adapt the literary conventions of fabliaux and courtly romance ...

    but is mainly described against conventions of courtly romance as a wholehearted endorsement of youth: "young and wild" (L. 117), "skip and frolic about" (L.150). Again against conventions her descriptions are filled with animal and nature images: her body is as graceful as a weasel's (L.

  1. 'The Miller's Tale' - Geoffrey Chaucer - Character Analysis - Absolon

    Absolon has a superficial notion of love which issues in a parody of the courtly code, made all the more ridiculous by the everyday setting of the tale. We see this in the long description starting at line 263. Absolon serenades Alison, sends her a variety of gifts and swears to be her page.

  2. 'The Miller's Tale' - Geoffrey Chaucer - Character Analysis - Nicholas

    In addition, he's crude and blasphemous, most notably in his supposed discovery of the imminent flood. The imaginary flood that Nicholas comes up with to fool John invites the reader to admire his cunning, initiative, confidence, inventiveness and contempt for the carpenter.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work