Canterbury Tales, The Miller's Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer, Nicholas, John the Carpenter, Alison, book review
People who are gullible are often taken advantage of by the people whom they respect. When a person admires somebody, it is very likely that he or she can be easily misled into doing something that they would otherwise never do. In Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale", we are introduced to an extremely funny story in which Nicholas, an admirable scholar, tricks John the Carpenter in order to sleep with his wife. Through the twists and turns of the story, we begin to understand each character and their motives for behaving the way that they do. Given the society in which they live, it is very plausible that each character in the story, John, Alison, Nicholas, and Absolom, would behave in exactly the way the story tells it.
[...] Deception and Gullibility and Chaucer's The Miller's Tale People who are gullible are often taken advantage of by the people whom they respect. When a person admires somebody, it is very likely that he or she can be easily misled into doing something that they would otherwise never do. In Chaucer's Miller's we are introduced to an extremely funny story in which Nicholas, an admirable scholar, tricks John the Carpenter in order to sleep with his wife. Through the twists and turns of the story, we begin to understand each character and their motives for behaving the way that they do. [...]
[...] Absolom, for example, came at night to Alison's house while John was there and sang “Dear lady, by your will, be kind to me/And strummed on his guitar in harmony.” Absolom was very careless and did not even bother to consider John, who was with Alison at the time and said to her: Alison, don't you hear/Absolom singing under our bedroom (Chaucer 165-169). Nicholas would never be so open about his intentions, and this was one of the reasons why he was able to successfully seduce Alison and get John out of the way. Absolom is a man who does not consider consequences and does things that feel right. After Alison tricked him into kissing her butt, Absolom's love turned to anger and hatred. He took a hot farmers tool and returned to Alison's house, asking for another kiss. [...]
[...] Chaucer writes, he could dance in twenty different ways/In the Oxford fashion, and sometimes he would sing/A loud falsetto to his fiddle string/Or his guitar” (Chaucer 138-141). Absolom was also in love with Alison and attempted to get to her. He too disregarded the fact that she had a husband, and he thought that his romantic ways, his charm, and his music would persuade her to be with him. Given his circumstance living around a church, like Nicholas he is also sexually frustrated. When he sees a beautiful woman, he is ready to jump out and try to take advantage of the situation however he can. [...]
[...] Alison is a simple girl who at first rejects the advances made by Nicholas. Alison considers the sin she is committing and tells Nicholas, will not kiss you, on my life/Why, stop it now, she said, stop Nicholas, Or I will cry out help,' and ‘Alas'/Be good enough to take your hands away” (Chaucer 99-101). However Nicholas quickly convinces her otherwise and her heart is taken by him. It is understandable that Alison would want to get away from her old, jealous husband, at least for one night. [...]
[...] Each character in Chaucer's Miller's Tale” was a product of his or her environment. John was an old rich man who Alison could not find possibly find attractive, while she fanaticized about other men taking advantage of her beauty. Nicholas and Absolom were both in love with Alison, but only one of them was clever, and this intelligence most certainly paid off. Each character behaved in a way that we would expect them to. John admires Nicholas, so we would expect that he would believe his ridiculous stories. [...]
using our reader.