Title: "Medieval Life Illuminated." This essay analyzes the the Miller's Tale in the Canterbury Tales which reveals medieval attitudes about class and courtly love.

Essay by ShelynP1University, Bachelor'sA+, December 2003

download word file, 5 pages 4.6

In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, particularly in "The Miller's Tale," an illustration of common medieval life is illuminated. Chaucer's use of coarse, ordinary language and his detailed descriptions of the characters in "The Miller's Tale" allows for readers to catch a glimpse into medieval society. While Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale" was full of pomp and romanticized chivalry, "The Miller's Tale" parodies "The Knight's Tale," as well as offering a moral to his story: the beguiler will be beguiled back. In his tale, Chaucer's storyteller the Miller reveals the medieval attitude about class, beguiling, and love.

The Miller begins with introducing the characters to his tale. He begins with the typical "Whylom," or "Once upon a time," to which has become a staple to fairy tales passed down through the generations. The Miller continues, "there lived at Oxford /a rich churl who boarded paying guests; /he was a carpenter by trade.

/At his house lived a poor scholar" (Chaucer 151). Chaucer is noting the carpenter's class with the label "churl," which is a word which describes a tradesman of lower class. Chaucer has the Miller describe the carpenter John's wife Alison, who is the symbol of obsession for the poor clerk Nicholas. "This carpenter had recently married a wife /whom he loved more than his life; /she was eighteen years of age" (Chaucer 151). The Miller then continues his introduction of Alison, describing her flawless beauty and style, to which Chaucer is foreshadowing the troubles Alison causes to lusty, medieval men. Later in "The Miller's Tale," the Miller introduces Absalom - "He well knew how to let blood, to clip hair, and to shave" - a barber in town who the Miller describes as "lively and playful" and "was a little squeamish /about farting...