The Miller's Tale- Chaucer's Response to Society's Flaws

Essay by stryker048High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2004

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In the Canterbury Tales, we are shown an avid description of the medieval world as Chaucer viewed it. Chaucer introduces us to various conflicts of the time, including the rivalry between men and women, the corruption of the Catholic Church, and class struggles. One of my favorite tales in the novel was the Miller's Tale. This tale depicted the struggle occurring in love and marriage, and also youth and old age.

In this story we are told of a young and vain Oxford student named Nicholas. Alison is the young and attractive wife of an older carpenter named John. Their relationship is one of necessity, as we are led to believe that Alison simply married John for his money while he married her because of her external beauty and youth. Nicholas is a smooth talker, and decides that he must bed Alison, regardless of her marriage. A peculiar fact that we witnessed was the inconspicuous reference to the Wife of Bath, as the main character carries her name (Alison) and also married for money.

Absalon is a parish clerk, materialistic, and also seeks the affection of the young wife (even though he is studying to become a priest and she is married). The tale continues as Nicholas concocts this crazy story simply for one night with Alison, whom also wants to have Nicholas- since she's bored and unhappy with her older and unattractive husband. Nicholas enters this trance-like state, and eventually garners the attention of his landlord, John. Nicholas tells the story of how he has just spoken with the Lord, and how a gigantic flood is coming to cleanse the earth of the sinners. John goes into a panic, but Nicholas tells him that he was also told that the three of them would be saved. Nicholas...