Compare and contrast how the three male characters are presented to us Essay

Compare and contrast how the three male characters are presented to us Essay

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Compare and contrast how the three male characters are presented to us
in The Millers Tale and consider their roles in the Fabliau.

The three male characters in Chaucer’s ‘The Millers Tale’ present many
of the classic themes in and genre ‘Fabliau’. In English literature
there is only a small amount of these tales and half of those are
Chaucer’s. While in French literature there are over 300 stories.
Nicholas is presented at the start of the ‘tale’ as gentle (hende) shy
and therefore trusted and experienced in passionate courtly love, we
can tell from his appearance and description that he will be the
stereotypical fabliau character who is ‘cunning’ and always ‘makes fun
of’ the other more foolish characters. John the carpenter is given a
short description and it is clear by the way he speaks that he is not
very intelligent therefore his foolishness will be punished john
represents the stereotypical character of the duped husband (old and
jealous).Alison is the faithless wife (young and sexually active).

Sexual and practical jokes play a large part in the Millers Tale, for
example Alison tricking Absolon into kissing her ‘arse’, this idea
however comes from a raucous Middle English song called ‘Old Hogan’s
Adventure’. The fact that Nicholas is short and brawny in his manner
and speech contrast his feminist presentation at the start of the
tale. The three characters of Nicholas John and the wife Absolon fit
securely into the fabliau theme of the ‘love triangle’ a plot that
always lends itself to sexual jokes. One of the best jokes in the
Miller’s Tale is the way the characters use the language oaf courtly
love to gain their selfish lustful ends, a major theme in many Fabliau
tales. Nicholas and Absolon c...

... middle of paper ...

the fabliau. The tale is ribald in context; farce is a obvious form of
humour in the Miller Tale as is irony. Chaucer plays off text against
text to create ironic effect, the carpenter is a perfect ironic remedy
to the Mi8ller’s advice of in the prologue, we learn that the best way
for husbands to avoid being cuckolded is to; “An hoiusbonde shal nat
been inqiusityf / Of Goddes pryvetee, nor of his wyf.” The three male
characters in the Miller’s tale conform very well to the personalities
and themes of the fabliau. But Chaucer changes his characters so they
do not completely match genre, as we have seen with their different
conventions and methods of acquiring their goals, Nicholas is direct
and straight forward, Absolon is indirect and foolish and hence gets
punished for it and John is honest and gullible and does not have
Alison at the top of his list.

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