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Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale

In: English and Literature

Submitted By corey987
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Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale" is a very humorous tale which accounts the story of a rich older carpenter who marries a much younger women only to be cuckolded and deemed crazy by his peers due to the trickery that he fell victim to at the hands of his wife’s younger lover. As told by Miller a drunkard this tale I believe utilizes multiple forms of humor to include crude and dark humor. And the lighter sides of the tale can be found in the slapstick way in which the carpenter’s wife’s male pursuers find themselves the victim of both physical and somewhat emotional pain as a result of their individual pursuits of a lawfully married woman. The crude aspects of Chaucer's tale can clearly be seen very shortly into the tale during Nicholas pursuit of the carpenter’s wife Alison and in the way in which Alison a seemingly very dainty woman shows her other pursuer Absalom that she is not interested. Nicholas’s initial pursuit of the carpenter’s wife in which Chaucer wrote Nicholas “caught her by the puss” (Chaucer 49-55) and the part in which Alison illustrates her lack of affection for Absalom by as Chaucer wrote tricking him into kissing her naked arse (Chaucer 49-55) are perfect examples of "The Miller's Tale" crude humor . I believe the humor in this crudeness lies in the way in which Chaucer describes the two brokers of these crude acts Nicholas and Alison prior to these acts. As Chaucer describes Nicholas a man learned in the arts, theorems, and various stratagems useful in devising solutions to all manners of things and Alison as a young, slim, and beautiful woman who of this time would presumably be very respectable, the crude acts that they committed completely caught me off guard in a humorous way and seemed unlike the characters Chaucer described.
The dark humor of this tale can be found in the way in which the carpenter a seemingly respectable business owner and husband finds himself cuckolded, the victim of Nicholas and Alison’s trickery which found him believing another biblical like flood was on its way, and inevitably made fun of for the belief that he was crazy. The dark humorous aspects of this appear as the carpenter finds himself the victim of an adulterous wife tricked into constructing kneading-tubs or beer-vats into arc like structures to survive a great flood that was on its way and the victim of public mockery for no reason other than being a jealous husband. And the slapstick portion of this tale comes during the tale in which Absalom finds himself kissing Alison’s arse and receiving a fart to the face from Nicholas and Nicholas receives a hot poker to the butt. These mishaps are perfectly highlighted during the ending in which Chaucer wrote “And Absalom has kissed her nether eye; And Nicholas is branded on the butt (Chaucer 49-55).
I found all forms of humor used in this tale very funny and effective in their use. The effective use of this humor lies in the detail provided in describing the characters to include Miller himself in the prologue. The telling of a ideal such as the marrying of a much younger woman leading to catastrophic failure an ideal that has been told and retold in modern society. To the ending which found most of the main characters all getting punished for their misdeeds.

I forgot to add my reference
Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Miller’s Tale.” The Canterbury Tales. Retrieved on 22 December 2012 from…...

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