Did Chaucer approve or disapprove of the character the Miller based on his/her description.Explain why.

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coachingcorner's profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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In the prologue of "The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, the author draws almost the full gamut of human weaknesses and frailties based upon our understanding of the seven deadly sins. For some characters, such as The Wife Of Bath, he allows a little tolerance it seems - but not for the poor old miller! In the Miller's Tale, Chaucer deliberately sets out to describe the crook in almost bestial terms, to demean him. One possible reason for this could be that in Chaucerian times , millers were often mistrusted, almost to the point where being a miller became synonymous with being a cheat or swindler. Everyone was dependent on millers for basic bread and grain, so they weren't easily forgiven!!

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is pretty clear (assuming that you are asking about the General Prologue) that Chaucer does not really approve of the Miller.  He thinks he is a cheat and something of a ruffian.

You can tell he is saying that Miller is a cheat because he says his thumb is golden (he puts his thumb on the scales to cheat his customers).  He says he would charge three times the right price and would steal corn.

His physical description of the Miller is pretty unpleasant too.  He compares him to a fox or a sow.  He says how big his nostrils are.  He talks about how big his mouth was.  So he generally just makes him sound kind of gross.

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