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‘What Is the Importance of This Section in the Whole of the Miller’s Prologue and Tale?’

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‘What is the importance of this section in the whole of The Miller’s prologue and tale?’

This section of the story is crucial for later development of the story and how it concludes. Chaucer, through the narrator of the Miller, describes the character of Absolon proleptically (achieved through language and imagery) and these certain - rather outlandish - qualities also have a part to play later making the tale humorous. However, the description of the character is not significant in the prologue since Absolon is not mentioned explicitly; and reduces the overall importance of Absolon in ‘The Miller’s Tale.’ There are two possible reasons why Absolon was not mentioned in the prologue but both intentional by Chaucer.

The Miller does not include Absolon before he telling his story in the prologue. This can be explained in two ways; both very important (especially the first) because it reveals not only the character of the Miller (who is used as a mouthpiece) but of Chaucer’s devices for making this play more realistic. One reason why the Miller omits mention of this character is Chaucer’s use to increase the realism of the tale. The Miller is known to be a man who ‘was of brawn’ and had ‘a werte’ which sprouted ‘a toft of heris’; he later describes Absolon who was ‘smal’ and ‘clippe and shave’. Chaucer makes this a strong contrast. Perhaps it is natural for the Miller not to talk about Absolon: he is not worth mentioning since he is not manly enough. The other reason, this one also increases the realism of the tale, is also important. The Miller is described as ‘dronke of ale’ and this point is reaffirmed by dialogue where the Miller admits his own drunkenness: ‘…I am dronke’. Moreover, the narrative refers to the Miller several times emphasising that he is not sober, ‘This dronke Miller…’. Chaucer is strongly making this point. It seems possibly more natural for…...

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