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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How Is The Character Of Nicholas Presented In 'The Miller's Tale' The descriptions of Nicholas in the 'Miller's Tale' portray him as a character that contrasts greatly to that of John the carpenter and Absolon. Nicholas is also a key contributor to several of the comical situations in the tale and an outlet for several of Chsucer's ironic and absurd witticisms. Nicholas is frequently mentioned to be a scholar, who 'hadde lerned art' but has now 'turned for to lerne astrologie' which shows he has followed the conventional course of medieval university students. The conventional epithet 'hende' is often used for Nicholas, in lines 91, 164, 278, 289 and 293, meaning courteous, gentle, gracious and obliging. This is an ironic description in some situations of the tale when his behaviour is nothing like this. Chaucer's mocking use of this word could be interpreted to represent the usual fate of an over-popular expression, for example 'nice' and 'lovely'. This can be see in lines 97/99 where Nicholas' room literally smelling sweet is followed by perhaps mockingly exaggerated metaphorical remarks about his own sweetness, extending Nicholas's sense of attractiveness. Nicholas' reputation as an astrologer is a key factor in the deception of the na�ve carpenter John, and thus, the sexual conquest of Alison. ...read more.

Middle

It could be possible then to deduce a lesson about the most successful methods to employ when attempting to woo women, similar to those used by Nicholas, the most successful of Alison's possible three suitors who manages to finally accept him as her lover 'she hire love him graunted ate laste'. In the execution of his intricate plan devised to enable him to finally commit adultery with Alison, Nicholas proves himself to be very intelligent. Despite the carpenter's disapproval of prying into divine secrets mentioned in line 56, Nicholas captures his interest and John submits to listening eagerly to his revelations about 'Goddes privetee' in line 346. In order to ensure John's belief and co-operation with the plan, the method in which Nicholas approaches him is crucial. Nicholas makes John initially feel privileged to know the information about the forthcoming flood when really Nicholas is covering his own back and limit the social damage that this lie will do, especially to Nicholas' reputation as an established and competent astronomer. Nicholas makes a preposterous statement in line 450, 'I wol nat tellen Goddes privetee' because he has been revealing supposedly divine secrets since line 406. ...read more.

Conclusion

Nicholas is shown to be withdrawn and fairly unsociable but well-experienced in clandestine and secret love-affairs, and when Alison warns him 'ye moste been ful deerne, as in this cas' he assures her of his competency to execute the cunning plan without the carpenters detection. Nicholas is comic in the implication that he and John are both single, guileless men whose charming innocence is symbolised by the white duck in line 468. The ironic centre of the tale is perhaps represented in the line 'a man woot litel what him shal bitide' because it is the carpenter and not Nicholas who is ignorant of what is about to happen and who, despite his comments, is eager to believe Nicholas' forecast of the forthcoming events. However, the future doe should an unforeseen shock for Nicholas who thinks himself in control of the events and also for Absolon who shortly prior to his humiliation ensures himself that 'some manner of comfort is coming his way'. The character of Nicholas is perhaps not the most significant individual personality in the tale but it is quite crucial to the comic and ironic elements that are strong themes running throughout. Nicholas is definitely the most important character in the elaborate deception plot and therefore plays quite a significant role in the climax of the tale. Z�e North 12fii ...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?

    There is a lot of humour in the Miller's Tale. This is to be expected from the description of the Miller in the general prologue, as it tells us he is fond of dirty stories and jokes. Love that is not returned can always be made humorous in such stories.

  2. How does the tale of the Merchant reflect the character of the Merchant himself?

    The Merchant, on the other hand, is aware from the start that January's efforts are in vain, that wives cannot be controlled no matter how closely their actions are curtailed. His is a world of newly married experience set off against January's refusal to acknowledge experience, and in this sense

  1. How Does Chaucer Present The Miller To Become Such A Vivid And Vibrant Character

    He believes the miller to be speaking obscene ribaldries. Quote; 'The Reve answerde and seide, 'Stint thy clappe! Lat be thy lewed drunken harlotrie''. (Translated as 'The Reeve answered and said, 'Stop this talk! Of your vulgar, drunken and obscene story''.) This clearly shows he disapproves of the miller's story.

  2. Miller's Tale - Compare and contrast Nicholas and Absolon.

    Another point that warms the audience to him as he is rather naive in many ways with what he sees to be love of the utmost importance, he doesn't seem to realise that there are many other women whom he could woo.

  1. Remind yourself of the lines 199-243, in which the Miller introduces the character of ...

    taverne that he ne visited with his solas, there any gailard tappester was" we can establish that this wouldn't be typical behaviour of a courtly lover. The ideal courtly lover would woo their lady by charm and by worshiping her; they would appreciate that she is a lofty creature, worthy to be served.

  2. Compare and Contrast the characters of Absolon and Nicholas and assess their contribution to ...

    illustration of Alison, where she is likened to the 'newe pere-jonette tree.' It is also said that he 'pleyeth Herodes upon a scaffold hye,' yet this part would have only underlined his comical appearance and unsuitability for the role. All these instances emphasise once more Absolon's effeminate sense.

  1. Discuss Chaucer's comic method in the Miller's Prologue and Tale. Combine your personal response ...

    Her final dissmissal of him with the 'misplaced kiss' is even more effective due to this. Once Nicholas has explained part of his curious plan to us, and has disappeared for some days into his 'chambre', the carpenter expresses great concern for the wellbeing of his cuckoling lodger.

  2. The Miller's Tale: Lines 364-489

    In the same way, Nicholas tells him that the flood will last "lasse than an hour" which again shows John's stupidity in that it is impossible for a flood to occur even with the heaviest rain, in only an hour.

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