What impression of the Miller does Chaucer create in the portrait?

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What impression of the Miller does Chaucer create in the portrait?

Extracted from the general prologue, the portrait of the Miller begins

by explaining his physical appearance. His physique is said to be ’ful

big of brawn and eek of bones’ indicating he was stocky, big boned and

had large muscles. He was also ‘short-sholdred’ meaning broad. This

suggests he could be quite threatening to look at. The Miller had a

red beard as wide as a spade, a hairy wart on the top right of his

nose, wide black nostrils and a huge mouth as great as a furnace.

Chaucer creates a very clear image in our minds of the Miller and the

impression given through his physical description suggests he is

rather ugly. In the period of the 14th Century when Chaucer wrote the

Canterbury tales, it was considered that you could tell a persons

character from their appearance, be it good or bad. Chaucer portrays

the Miller as physically repulsive which implies he is an immoral and

bad character. His image could reflect his personality.

In the case of the miller this is so. It is explained that the Miller

participated in a popular sport of the time, wrestling. It is further

explained that he always won the ram (the prize given). Chaucer

continues to give the impression that the Miller was strong and to a

certain extent should be feared. It also says that he carried with him

a ‘swerd and bokeler’ (sword and shield) by his side, further

suggesting he was always fighting. In mirroring his bad physical

appearance, there is a suggestion that the Miller could have been a

thief. ‘Ther was no dore that he nolde heve of harre’ says that there

was no door he would not have off its hinges. This implies that the

Miller wondered the town banging down d...

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...he Miller as the

devil to represent that he really was an evil character is only some

peoples perception. Others interpret this reference to have a comic

element and to be used for the purpose of taking-the-mick. In the 14th

Century the general opinion of the Miller was low and he was a

disliked man. This was because it was known that he over-priced for

his skills and ripped off his customers by taking too much of their

grain as a charge. It is therefore some peoples belief that Chaucer is

simply comparing the Miller to the devil as a joke and to amuse those

who disliked the man to simply make the book popular. Whether Chaucer

meant to make this reference as comical or to suggest the Miller was

the devil incarnate, the same impression is given.

In the portrait of the Miller Chaucer gives the impression that he is

ugly, loud, rough and of an evil manner.
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