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

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In the Miller's Prologue and tale, Chaucer describes each character in great detail. The Miller is also graphically described to us in the general prologue to the tales. Key characters such as Alisoun, Nicholas and John are all described in detail, and Absolon is no acceptation. This section is important as it introduces and describes Absolon. He is introduced by a lengthy detailed description. We learn he has many talents such that he can play "songes on a small rubbile" and "song som time a loud quinible." However, although this lengthy section does describe Absolon, it has far more significance than just introducing him to the tale, he is characterised as the satirised courtly lover; a deliberate device used by Chaucer in his bawdy fabliau. Firstly, Chaucer depicts Absolon as attractive but with a feminine slant. To some this may be attractive, but to Alisoun, it certainly isn't. ...read more.


In a way, this could be true of a courtly lover as Absolon could be said to be showing respect to the lady. However, this could also be for another reason; that he is squeamish towards bodily functions; again, the satirised courtly lover as a true courtly lover wouldn't have been that feminine. Conversely, in the next two lines we read that "if she hadde been a mous, and he a cat, he wolde hire hente anon." Whilst this shows some reference to gratifying Absolon's sexual desires, Chaucer lacks to write in the same detail as he does when he writes about Nicholas satisfying his sexual desires. When Nicholas is wooing Alisoun, his language is far more vivid and descript, this is clear when he "caughte hire by the queynte." This contrast is important in the section because it again demonstrates that Absolon is hopeless. Although it is hard for Nicholas to be described as a courtly lover, he is getting far more female attention than Absolon, who could be described as conforming to the rules of courtly love more closely than Nicholas. ...read more.


It could then be suggested that this mirrors that of the context of the tale. On the pilgrimage, society as a whole would have been represented. There would have been religious figures such as the priest and the nun, and less religious figures such as the Miller and the Shipman. By making his point subtle, it would ensure there would be no objections at the end of the tale. Ultimately this is what happens, the pilgrims show the opposite to objections and in fact all laugh. This cuts across social boundaries and brings the pilgimrs together as one community. Therefore, in this sense the section describing Absolon is highly important, and even central to the Miller's prologue and tale. Chaucer uses it as a springboard to explore many wider issues that avail in society, such as the satire of the courtly lover and the possibly criticism of the church. ?? ?? ?? ?? Remind yourself of the lines 199-243, in which the Miller introduces the character of Absolon. What is the importance of this section in the whole of the Miller's Prologue and Tale? ...read more.

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