Analysis Of Alisoun In The Miller's Tale

717 Words 3 Pages
The Miller in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales tells a story about infidelity, mischievousness, and floods, all centering around a young girl. The central character in “The Miller’s Tale” is an eighteen-year-old girl named Alisoun. The girl, married to a carpenter, begins an affair with one of her tenants and teases another man in town. However, she is not described to be the flirtatious woman her actions show her to be. The description of Alisoun made by Chaucer does not make her a sympathetic character in regards to her actions because though described as a whole to be a seemingly girlish and innocent figure, the description contradicts her actions in that she sleeps with another man and teases another. Through the colors used to describe her …show more content…
Beginning with line 128, “A barmcloth as whit as morne milk,” is described. Her apron is a white as morning milk. The presence of an apron makes her seem very home-oriented and not home-wrecker material. The pale color suggests purity, as well as the adjective of “morning.” The morning is symbolic of a fresh start, or a virginal day. The alliteration of “morning milk” also emphasizes the absolute purity of this shade of white. In addition to this, the ribbons in her cap are also white (132). The abundance of white indicates a purity that contradicts the actions she takes later in the …show more content…
In line 126, Chaucer writes, “As an wesele hir body gent and small.” Alisoun is described similar to a weasel. She is thin and delicate. This description almost seems to foreshadow Alisoun’s actions in modern context. With “weasel” being a devious animal, Alisoun seems to be compared to a sly, tricky animal. She also is said to have pulled, arching brows, specifically, “and blake as any slo” (137-138). “Slo” refers to sloeberry, an arching plant similar to blueberries. This comparison to fruit emphasizes her apparent sweetness; she is as sweet as fruit is. She is said is be, “more blissful on to see / Than is the newe perejonette tree” (139-140). The modern English translation is that Alisoun is nicer to see than a new pear tree. However, the use of the word “blissful” brings to mind an absolute entrancement that the author has when seeing her. Things that are blissful captivate the entire experience, and so does Alisoun. In addition to this, Alisoun is not only as beautiful as a pear tree, again going back to the sweetness of fruit, but also a new tree. The “new” aspect brings about a sense of youth and innocence, which highly contradicts her subsequent

Related Documents