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

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

Extracts from this document...

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.

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?

    The carpenter is the total opposite of Alison. He is old and it is likely that she finds him boring and unattractive, which explains why she has an affair. The Carpenter realises that she is not that much in love with him, and is jealous as a result of it, "Jalous he was, and held hir narrwe in cage."

  2. The Merchant's Tale -summary

    The Merchant's blindness leads to the negative attitudes he develops about marriage and contributes to his bitterness. The Merchant, in his disillusionment, does not advocate romantic sentiment. Instead, he makes it his sole purpose to reduce it, and plans to do so by telling a tale that will portray all wives as deceitful.

  1. The Juxtaposition of the sacred and the erotic is typical of the miller's style ...

    The Miller uses satire against John to make him seem foolish and stupid. The Miller ridicules John the carpenter, as he blindly believes Nicholas' absurd forecast of the flood. He is also presented as being very foolish for having married such a young wife because he gets cuckolded in the end.

  2. Did Attitudes Towards the Status of Women and Marriage Change in the Late- Middle ...

    Jerome even believes that a marriage of force stands in law. However, things were to change. Gratian, who can be acknowledge for giving substance to canon law, asked the question of whether women should be able to have any choice in the matter of their partner.

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

    Another use of irony Chaucer uses is that even though these pilgrims are heading for a pilgrimage they are really out for the entertainment. The host tries to keep the position of tales to positions in society, therefore the people of higher social rank tell their stories first.

  2. "What do the first 149 lines of the Merchant's prologue and Tale tell us ...

    The audience become aware of the Merchant's disrespectful attitude towards his wife that is reiterated through adjectives such as 'Shrewe', and his perception of a women's position, one that should be subservient and silent is a common perspective shared by men of this era.

  1. Middle ages.

    Much is known of his early education, but his works show that he could read French, Latin, and Italian. Chaucer had the early life of many English children, but when he turned eight, he was a very "rare" English child.

  2. 'One of the best short stories in English.' Discuss Chaucer's narrative skills as shown ...

    His only concern is that, realising their sinfulness, they give him money to benefit from his pardons and/or relics. All the money he gets he seems to regard as his own and he explains that he does not intend to be like Christ's apostles who worked hard with their hands;

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