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

How Is The Character Of Absolon Presented In The Miller's Tale?

Extracts from this document...


How Is The Character Of Absolon Presented In The Miller's Tale? The descriptions of Absolon in 'The Miller's Tale' portray him as a character that in many ways contrasts the characters of Nicholas and John the carpenter but he also plays a key role in making the tale a traditional fabliau and There are many references that show Absolon to be very conscious of his appearance, therefore making him seem very effeminate, for example, 'his heer...strouted as a fanne large and brode'. This reference, and the fact that Absolon combs his hair before going to attempt to woo Alison shows us that he is proud of his curled and golden hair with a splendid parting. This is described to compliment his rosy complexion and eyes 'greye as goos'. In addition to these relatively effeminate descriptions, there are frequent references which mention Absolon and his attire being 'ful smal and properly', 'fetisly' and elegant, for example, his 'gay surplis' is unusual because in Church the dress would be relatively simple, therefore it advertises his vivacity. Also, Absolon's shoes are described as having complex woven patterns in them, resembling St Paul's window, indicating that they are lavish and therefore, Absolon is keen to keep up with current fashions. This almost absurd preoccupation with dress contrasts Absolon greatly with secretive Nicholas, who seems much less intent on drawing attention to himself. ...read more.


This illustrates Absolon's gaiety of temperament and draws yet another contradiction between his and Nicholas's characters. It appears that all the references to Absolon being such an effeminate character, in almost direct contrast with Nicholas in many ways, he is almost comically out of place in such a plebeian setting. The comparisons made between Nicholas and Absolon can perhaps be explained in lines 284-5 'alwey the nire slie maketh the ferre leeve to be looth' suggesting that Absolon's intentions of successfully wooing Alison are dashed immediately because Nicholas lives under the same roof as her, thus, Absolon is 'out of sight and out of mind'. The fact that Absolon's quest to woo Alison begins after she has already agreed to commit adultery with Nicholas indicates that his case is almost defiantly lost before he had opened it. Also, despite both of the characters sharing the common intention of wooing Alison, despite the suggestion that Nicholas is slightly more sincere, the characters completely contrast each other in their approach to Alison. Nicholas is direct and forthright, whereas Absolon attempts to woo her by 'meenes and brocage'; giving her presents and also offering gifts of money. Absolon addresses Alison as 'deere lady' in line 253, which is an entirely inappropriate attempt to make himself appear like a courtly lover and Alison has clearly a good sense to ignore his advances. ...read more.


heer, and as the gold it shoon, and strouted as a fanne large and brode'. These particular lines are quite powerful; they do not only provoke a vivid image, but also make a comparison to Absolon's biblical namesake, showing that he too is proud of his hair. Also, Absolon is described to have 'Poules window corven on his shoos' which, as such a precise metaphor, not only illustrates his preoccupation with dress and current fashions but, provides us with a very detailed mental picture of the shoes. The descriptions being so vivid leave the reader with images planted clearly in their head, no thought is required to obtain mental pictures of the characters and their attire. The religious story of Noah's Ark rescuing his family from a flood intended to drown sinners and wash away sins. The idea is similarly used at the climax of the 'Miller's Tale', when the fictional 'flood' created by Nicholas provides social retribution for adultery, paralleling God's punishment for licentious people. The love rivalry between Nicholas and Absolon allowed for comic procedures following the adultery committed by Alison. The character of Absolon is perhaps not the most important in the tale, but does serve a very important role in many of the key themes of the fabliau, like courtly love. Chaucer has used many common language techniques to emphasise the importance of Absolon and also to portray the image of his character in comparison with others. Z�e North 12fii ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree 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 University Degree Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. The Pardoner's Tale.

    elements, the reader becomes less sure of where the line between the two realms should be drawn. This disturbing atmosphere captures the reader's attention and draws them further into the story. Another element that makes the Pardoner's Tale such a satisfying story is the dramatic tension brought about by both the length and the speed of the narrative.

  2. Commentary on 'Keeping Mum'

    This idea was supported when I collected opinions from a selection of people who read my piece who although had similar idea of the character, thought it was particularly interesting to see how each person interpreted his characteristics. I adopted the title 'Too Late?'

  1. Chaucer's Pardoner's tale Analysis on lines 520 through to 602

    The repetitiveness in mentioning death keeps it fresh and lingering in the foreground of the tale. The narrative voice morphs from character to character, expressing their views and opinions till the collective conclusion with the brothers lying deceased. The verse collects to form this imagery of shadows caressing their resting

  2. What is the Merchant like?

    and reality would perhaps be all the keener for a man who, while in debt, was sownynge alwey th'encrees of his wynnyng." It makes sense that the Merchant would fall victim to Chaucerian irony, because as a merchant, he should know well the difference between an object's appearance and its actual worth.

  1. The Wife of Bath's Tale is an exemplum, providing an answer to the question, ...

    But on the man's side of the story, he is forced to give up his masculinity and become sensual only so that his wife can now become masculine. In the Wife of Bath's Tale, she attempts to convey her message that women want domination, yet with closer analysis one sees that her ideas do not seem to work out well.

  2. Write an essay on the variety of ways in which Chaucer treats the subject ...

    duel for Emelyn, "But for as muche thou art a worthy knyght / and wilnest to darreyne hire by bataille, / Have heere my trouthe; tomorowe I wol not faille", where the lady has no choice by affection but rather is the gift of heroic chivalry, and the one who

  1. 'Langland's Piers Plowman greatly influenced The Canterbury Tales'. Discuss, with particular reference to estates ...

    / For whiles Fortune is thi frend freres wol thee lovye' (XI. 54-5). The friars were the most despised of the clergy and the image of greedy friars was becoming more popular. In the Prologue, Langland complains that friars, 'Prechynge the peple for profit of the wombe: / Glosed the gospel as hem good liked' (Prol.

  2. Chaucer's use of biblical material in ‘The Miller’sTale’.

    Carpenter John then agrees to make three boats, so that his wife Alison, Nicholas and John himself can be saved from the flood. Although Nicholas presents the story of Noah's flood as very similar to the story in the Bible, frequently calling upon 'Goddes privetee' and 'Goddess grace' to

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