How does Chaucers prologue prepare us for the millers tale?

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Dan Moss


‘How does Chaucer’s Prologue prepare us for ‘The Miller’s tale’?’

        Chaucer introduces us to the Miller in the prologue, who appears to personify his own story. By introducing the Miller as a crude ruthless man Chaucer prepares for what is to come in the tale, we see his personality and which becomes the basis for the themes which run through the Miller’s tale. In the prologue we are introduced to the Miller’s views of women, his frustration with the Reeve and his insult to the church and they are all then continued through the tale.

        The prologue is a conversation between The Miller and Harry Bailey, who as well as being the landlord is also the man who created the story telling contest and therefore would be seen as the authoritative figure in the novel. When the Miller interrupts to give his story we see him challenging the authority of Harry for it is not his turn to speak, this is an insight into his personality and that of the story which he is to tell. We see him challenging those whom have power during the tale by striking out against The Church. We see the preparation for this disregard of The Church’s authority in the prologue for it is in front of the monk, a member of the group, that the Miller speaks. This is showing great disrespect for as a religious figure the monk would be seen as the Miler’s superior. This can relate to how the only member of the clergy in the tale is one who is thought of as inferior to everyone else. It would be thought of as disrespectful towards the monk top tell his tale, not only for the acts which take place but also because of the creation of Absolon. The Miller’s creation ridicules The Church, showing them to be chauvinistic and fools; though this was a wide spread view of The Church at the time, however through fear it would be unwise to voice this opinion. The Miller was introduced as a brave man and how he is physically capable as well as being able to break doors with his head. This shows that he takes problems head on and  will not skirt around an issue such as The Church. Of all the members of the group we see more of Chaucer’s own voice in the Miller and this is shown through the Miller’s more contemporary ways of thinking as it has been said countless times that Chaucer too was born before his time.

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The Miller also cries out in ‘Pilates vois’, this would initially be seen as the voice of the man who condemned Jesus, however Pilate also tried to help Jesus by trying to convince him to lie about his heritage in the court, and was eventually forced into sentencing him through pressure from the government. Therefore there are different views on what is meant, in the same way that there are different interpretations of what the Miller says. This therefore prepares us for the vast amounts of second meanings and underhanded comments in the Miller’s tale.

The monk was ...

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