The Miller's Tale Questions and Answers
by Geoffrey Chaucer

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How, in "The Miller's Tale" (part of The Canterbury Tales), does Chaucer use humor to make social criticisms?

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Geoffrey Chaucer uses humor frequently and in numerous ways to make social criticisms in his poem titled The Canterbury Tales. One of the tales, the one associated with the Miller, is especially funny and especially effective in its comic social satire.  Examples of the use of humor in this work include the following:

  •  In the "prologue" to the tale, the Miller is so drunk that he can barely sit on his horse. He is so much under the influence of alcohol that he speaks wildly, in a voice associated with madness, and refuses to show any respect to anyone else. He even takes God’s name in vain (3120-27). Chaucer thus humorously mocks drunkenness, pride, rudeness, and foolishness. Perhaps the most humorous moment of this whole episode occurs in lines 3136-38:

3136         "Now herkneth," quod the Millere, "alle and some!
                    "Now listen," said the Miller, "everyone!
3137         But first I make a protestacioun
                    But first I make a...

(The entire section contains 521 words.)

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