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The miller is a cherl.' That a drunken 'cherl' would tell a tale so beautifully structured and so delightfully crafted is clearly unconvincing. Discuss The Miller's Tale is in the form of fabliau

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Introduction

'The miller is a cherl.' That a drunken 'cherl' would tell a tale so beautifully structured and so delightfully crafted is clearly unconvincing. Discuss The Miller's Tale is in the form of fabliau, which is part of the oral tradition of storytelling, which was very popular among the lower classes in the medieval times. Prominently bawdy and satirising in content, fabliaux commonly told the story of a bourgeois husband who is cuckolded by his young wife. Fabliaux brings a great contrast to the likes of the courtly love tales such as the Knight's Tale, thus it reflects Chaucer's social and literary experience. The coarse, colloquial language and the realistic setting makes it convincing that a 'cherl' like the Miller could have told this story as it shows the Miler's unrefined and crude nature. Furthermore, the use of animal imagery in the Miller's portrait highlights the Miller's aggressive and lewd characteristics. However, it appears unconvincing that a drunken 'cherl' could have created this tale as there are numerous reference to ancient philosophy, education and the gospels which makes it doubtful that an uneducated man could have been aware of them all. ...read more.

Middle

This allows the Miller to mimic the structure used in the Knight's Tale. In addition, the Knight's idealistic courtly values and romantic valour are deeply parodied by the Miller. The language used by Nicholas during the wooing process of Alison is in the style of a courtly lover-'lemman, love me al atones, or I nol dyen.' He is indicating that he would rather die than not to have her love. This is used by the Miller to show how unrealistic and unpractical the courtly lovers are and consequently, mocks the courtly love procedure and chivalry behaviour. In conclusion, it seems unconvincing that a drunken Miller could maintain the constant parody of the Knight's tale and therefore would not be capable of telling tale so carefully and precisely structured. The tale is set in contemporary and realistic world-'Whilom ther was dwellinge at Oxenford.' Oxford is an urban university town, which contrasts to the romantic and historical setting of Athens in the Knight's tale. ...read more.

Conclusion

As a result, they had to restrain their wives in order to gain authority over them. On the other hand, the references to Cato and the branch of one of the seven arts-astrology do not seem to suit the Miller. 'He knew nat Catoun' is a reference to Cato who was a 4th century classical philosopher. He came up with the theory that men should marry women of similar age and social status. The fact that the Miller knew about Cato seems unlikely, as he was an uneducated man. Consequently, this piece of knowledge seems to belong to the learned and sophisticated Chaucer as Chaucer had a passion for astrology like Nicholas and had also written 'Treatise on the Astrolabe.' As a consequence, it does not seem justified that a man like the Miller would have known about Latin Literature and astrology. Chaucer has added this reference to add humour as john is portrayed as being foolish for not knowing about Cato, which would have been a common view, held by the Medieval people. All in all, the Miller's Tale's bawdy and humorous nature could be seen as convincing and well suited to a drunken 'cherl' like the Miller. ...read more.

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