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Taking together the portrait of the Miller in the 'General Prologue' with the framing material for the 'Tale', show how Chaucer creates a vivid sense of the teller. What is the likely effect on the reader?

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Introduction

English Literature The Miller's Tale - Chaucer Taking together the portrait of the Miller in the 'General Prologue' with the framing material for the 'Tale', show how Chaucer creates a vivid sense of the teller. What is the likely effect on the reader? Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales', a collection of tales told by pilgrims on a pilgrimage to Canterbury in the 14th Century, are famous not only for their portrayal of different characters within society and the humour that they provoke, but also for the fact that they were one of the first pieces of work to be written in Middle English. The Miller is one of the most memorable characters out of the pilgrims due to him drunkenly arguing to tell his tale after the Knight and also because of the content of his story, which contains a mixture of humour, realism and vulgarity. From his description in the 'General Prologue', the Miller appears to be a character of commanding physical presence, a large man who revels in such displays of strength as wrestling matches and breaking down doors "at a renning with his heed." Chaucer describes him as being a "stout carl" and big in both brawn and bones. ...read more.

Middle

It is the Host's intention that others of the more noble pilgrims shall follow the Knight, however, it is not Chaucer's, as the Miller, who at this point is so drunk that he can barely sit on his horse, rudely intervenes ahead of the Monk. He claims that he "kan a noble tale for the nones" with which he will rival the tale of the Knights. Due to the profile of the Miller that the reader was able to read in the 'General Prologue' and as well as the fact that he is drunk, it can be established that a noble tale from the Miller is unlikely and that we, the readers, are in for a tale of "sinne and harlotries". Harry Bailey realises the drunken state of the Miller and attempts to pacify him, as he says that a better man shall tell the next tale and things will proceed in the right order. It is at this point that the Miller becomes quite disgruntled and childishly threatens "For I wol speke, or elles go my way". The Host relents grudgingly, "Tel on, a devel way!" and the Miller proceeds to tell the rest of the group that he's aware of his drunkenness as he can hear it in ...read more.

Conclusion

It is towards the end of the Miller's Prologue that the reader begins to feel an element of illusion, as what they are reading is fiction, yet Chaucer directly addresses them in his narration. As he implicitly addresses the reader a sense of realism is evoked and they may feel as if what they are reading really took place. It is through using these devices of realism, irony and illusion that Chaucer's writing is most effective in creating not only a vivid sense of the teller of the tale, but also of the pilgrimage itself. By provoking elements of humour in his description of the teller in order for the reader to have something to relate to, and in the moments where irony is evoked, the reader has the most realistic image of both the teller of the tale and his fellow pilgrims. In conclusion, * Introduction * The description of the Miller in the General Prologue * What the reader can perceive of him from his description * The framing material for the tale, i.e. Miller being drunk * Chaucer gets away with telling such a rude story as a narrator, as he claims it's the miller, not him * Conclusion Joanna Lowe Page 1 Mrs Edwards ...read more.

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