The Miller's Tale-Chaucer

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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"In the years between 1385 and 1389, the darkest period of his life, Chaucer began The Canterbury Tales. In it he could think about and laugh at the very fabric of a society that seemed to be falling in pieces." (D. Howard, p. 401) Chaucer's pilgrims contained the aspects of the society of that time. There are three ideal pilgrims: the Knight, the Parson, and the Plowman. The other pilgrims have flaws that are shown in what they wear, how they talk, and the tales they tell.

We find out the Miller's astrological sign is represented by Mars. "'Martialists' are angry and bold, and the Miller's behavior on the pilgrimage is consistent with his categorization." (Chaucer) The Miller is described as a "stout carl who is master of the art of stealing corn and taking triple toll for grinding." (Nevo, p. 106) Even though the Miller steals grain, he is considered proficient at his trade--all of them, in fact, excel at their callings.

"The Miller, the first of the 'churls' introduced at the end of the general prologue, is a generic image of a carnival man, with gaping mouth and a prominent nose." (D. Howard, page 422) "Upon the cop right of his nose he hade A werte, and theron stood a toft of herys." (The Canterbury Tales, line 554) The Miller has on the tip or bridge of his nose a wart or mole, on which is a tuft of hairs. "Red as the brustles of a sowes erys; His nosethirles blake were and wyde." (The Canterbury Tales, line 556) The narrator likens his hair to a pig's bristles, but a fox also comes to mind regarding the Miller's red beard. "The Miller's red beard associates him with the Summoner, whose vulgarity and drunken rowdiness...