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The OED define a fabliau as "a metrical tale, often coarsely humourous. Is this an adequate description of the miler's tale or is it more than that?

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Introduction

Nikul Patel DS13 The OED define a fabliau as "a metrical tale, often coarsely humourous. Is this an adequate description of the miler's tale or is it more than that? A fabliau consists of two segments that are the metre of the text and the actual course comic value of the piece. Both have to be revised for the miller's tale to be considered a fabliau. The miller's tale is a metrical tale in the sense it has an alternate number of stressed and unstressed syllables in each of its lines. For example, "He ne hade for his labour but a scorn". This means that at least half of the requirements of the oxford dictionary meaning of fabliau have been met. Thus meaning the only other part left to fulfil is whether or not the miller's tale is a coarsely comic piece. To do this we must look at the humour within the tale, the aim/intended impact of the tale and also its coarseness of language and description. ...read more.

Middle

For, the knight is as expected a noble, chivalrous, gentleman, whereas the miller is a loud, brutish, flippant man. The tellers are the embodiments of their tales. The sexual references are littered all over the tale. Especially the description of Alyson. As she is the manifestation of all of the sexual frustration of the male pilgrims. Which makes the miller's tale such a powerful parody, for the knight's tale (in all the teller's nobility) had presumed that good honest men would put love above everything else. Whereas, Chaucer used the miller to represent the other side of man, the hugely non - sensitive, single minded, sexually driven side. "Hir mouth was sweete as bragot or the meeth" such ambiguous descriptive techniques indicated a sexual intent on the part of the teller. For it can be interpreted that Chaucer is innocently and honourabley describing Alyson's mouth as being her voice/language as being sweet, but what is indicated is that her mouth is sweet to the taste. ...read more.

Conclusion

Such straightforward unsubtle humour was quite deliberate from Chaucer for it satisfies the need of entreating the 1st audience (who have been drinking and require uncomplicated punch lines to such a long dirty joke) it also more importantly reinforces the parody to the knight's tale. Which was not humourous but a tale of love and honour, which the miller's tale was the complete opposite to as it was a tale of sex a deceit. In conclusion Chaucer was consciously writing the miller's tale as a fabliau. The metre of the unstressed and stressed syllables appearing in alternate in each of the lines, coupled with the incredibly coarse core running through the whole tale. Made up of sexual innuendos, slapstick comedy and of course the teller of the tale himself. All these things fit the oxford dictionary definition of a fabliau. But this tale is not just a fabliau for the sake of it; it is part of a much bigger patchwork of tales, its purpose to be the complete parody of the knights. ...read more.

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