An analysis of Chaucer's Miller's Tale

Essay by willylindsayUniversity, Bachelor's May 2004

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Scholars, critics and readers of The Miller's Tale should not try and find a moral, a revelation or historical context with his words - there is none. McDaniel does exactly the opposite: "the Miller has preached a sermon on the sin of pride, couching his homily in the vulgar garb of a naughty story." McDaniel goes even further than this stating that the three men are "victims of vanity." There is only one reason for the Miller to tell such a tale and that is to "quite the Knyghtes tale"(3127) . The author and our narrator, Geoffrey Chaucer, even after he has heard the tale, does not think it is appropriate:

And therfore every gentil wight I preye,

For Goddes love, demeth nat that I seye

Of yvel entente, but for I moot reherce

Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,

Or elles falsen som of my mateere.


If the tale had a moral or any such honorable element, our author would not hesitate to include it, but as seen above he tells us why he must (for historical reasons and for truth) not omit it.

Chaucer also states that he does not think the tale has nobility, morality or holiness by insinuating that to find these things you must "turne over the leef and chese another tale" (3177). Finally, to drive my point home and to silence those that would like to prove otherwise, Chaucer in one simple line tells us what the story is about: "And eek men shal nat maken ernest of game" (3186).

There is no deeper meaning in the Miller's Tale. It is obvious that it serves only as a relief from the boring and tedious, yet noble and honorable knight's tale. This is the Miller's calling. He is a remarkably clever...