Beginning with line 115, examine the ways in which Chaucer presents Alison in the Miller's Tale.

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Nikul Patel 17/11/03

Beginning with line 115, examine the ways in which Chaucer presents Alison in the Miller's Tale

Alison is representative of many things in the miller's tale, for example she is a catalyst for much of the events in the book, and she is also there for purposes of ornamentation. The first and major appearance of Alison is in line 115 to line 162. This is Alison's description, Chaucer is writing the miller's tale as a parody of the knight's tale. So as the woman the men were fighting over in the millers tale was described with honourable intentions, the Miller is very much a different character, and Chaucer needs Alison to be described with the most sex appeal. This is sort of mocking towards the knight's ideals and virtues. Chaucer is writing for two audiences: the fictional audience of the pilgrims on their way to Canterbury, and the actual audience reading the tale.

Alison has to fulfill many requirements, she has to be perceived as desirable to the fictional male characters of the pilgrims, and she also has to create a suitable parody to the knight's tale for the 2nd actual audience.

The description starting on line 115 is almost entirely physical on one level but some of the descriptive techniques are figurative so it can be argued that there are descriptions that denote some sort of metaphysical description. For example the simile of Alison as a "wezele" on line 126, can be linked with many things. It may be indicating she is young and flexible physically which has certain sexual applications, it also can be indicating her flexible morality, e.g. she is easily persuaded by Nicholas to sleep with him. Figurative language is Chaucer's way of using Alison as the desirable 'object' of this tale; he...