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Why do the Pilgrim's want to prevent the Miller from telling his tale? How does the...

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babyface12 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted March 8, 2010 at 10:50 PM via web

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Why do the Pilgrim's want to prevent the Miller from telling his tale? How does the Miller feel about love in The Canterbury Tales?

Prologue pages 1-7, Millers 86-119

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daveb | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted March 28, 2010 at 10:33 PM (Answer #1)

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The Miller is a drunk, and due to this, the crew suspect that he will have nthing good to say. Based on his tale, it might be easy to suggest that he doesn't believe much in love, as the very old landlord is cuckolded by Nicholas. All involved suffer one way or the other throughout the story, and since it is so bawdy, the travelers protest the profane story that followed the Knight's Tale...in essence, the opposite sort of tale. In fact, the Miller's  Tale quites the Knight's tale effectively.

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roundsk | eNoter

Posted October 11, 2013 at 5:36 PM (Answer #2)

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The pilgrims wish to prevent the Miller from telling his story because not only is he drunk, but he's far below the Knight in terms of hierarchical order. His rude behavior and insistence upon telling the next story appals the other pilgrims to the point of finally giving in to the Miller's request. It can be surmised from the text that the Miller felt his story would be a welcome one.He goes on to tell what is known as a fabliau, which involves silly and very lewd plot lines.

The Miller's tale tells of an old carpenter married to a beautiful young woman named Alison. They house a young, struggling scholar. It is implied that the young Alison is disenchanted with her older husband, and as the story progresses, she develops a desire for the young scholar, Nicholas. They transpire to hook up one night. Whilst this tryst is taking place, a clerk for the local church decides that he too wants to have a relationship with the beautiful Alison, so he sets his sights on getting a kiss from her. Basically, Alison and Nicholas trick the carpentar into thinking that another flood is coming and that they must prepare, so he hangs three huge tubs from the ceiling and fills them with supplies to keep them alive. By the end of it he is so tired that he falls into a deep sleep and Alison and her lover sneak into bed together. Then the clerk shows up asking for a kiss and Alison sticks her butt out for him to kiss. This angers him and so he comes back with a hot prod, but this time the scholar sticks his butt out, and gets burned. In the end the caprenter is made a fool of.

This tale suggests that the Miller resents the concept of love and marriage, as he points out its flaws.  

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