Satire In The Canterbury Tales Essay

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Throughout the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses different literary devices to develop tone and attitude about his character’s and their actions. Chaucer specifically satirizes the Miller in the General Prologue, Miller’s Prologue, and the Miller’s Tale to present his opposing views on education and religion by developing the Miller’s appearance, ignorance, and immaturity undesirably.
Throughout literature, undesirable features are given to characters authors disdain, dislike, and satirize. In this case, Chaucer uses the General Prologue. Miller’s Prologue, and the Miller’s Tale to satirize the Miller’s physical appearance, offensive personality, and gruff mannerisms. In the General Prologue, Chaucer uses words such as “stout churl”, “Hardy”,“big
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The Miller’s Tale directly follows after “The Knight had thus his story told” which was “worthy to be called to memory” (Pg. 93). Chaucer admired The Knight and his story, and deliberately organized The Miller’s Prologue directly after the Knight’s noble tale to make The Miller classless by comparison, even before he began. The Miller’s drinking habits also suggest his classlessness, as he was “drunk enough to be all pale, so that barely upon his horse he sat” (Pg. 93). Chaucer draws comparison between the types of drunk his characters are, as The Miller was obnoxious and loud, while a man of honor, such as The Knight, never was intoxicated to the level The Miller was. Chaucer also addresses the Miller’s disrespect towards the other characters trying to stop him from telling his tale. For example, the Host says, “You are a fool, your wit is overcome”, but the Miller completely ignores the last stitch comment to try to stop him answering with, “Now Hearken” (Pg.94). Ironically, the Miller admits his drunkenness, “knowing it by [his] sound”, but merely “blame[s] that on the ale of Southwark” as if it wasn’t his own fault he was drunk (Pg. 94). The action of denying the responsibility of being drunk, he blames it on the ale, which throughout the novel is a strategy in which characters Chaucer doesn’t like deal with their problems. In line 60, Chaucer uses Authorial …show more content…
The storyline of his tale talks for itself, reflecting the Miller’s immature and classless sense of humor that Chaucer disdains. The highlights of The Miller’s Tale include, “kissing a naked arse”, the “let[ing] of a flying fart”, and “burn[ing] his bottom” (Pg. 111-113). These events could be compared to the modern day equivalent of “fart jokes” told throughout middle and elementary schools. The Miller’s immature sense of humor satirizes him as immature and ignorant. The Miller’s opinion on religion and marriage differs extremely from Chaucer’s, which directly makes The Miller even more ignorant, but also indirectly encourages readers to side with Chaucer. Absalom, a church clerk who becomes a main character in The Miller’s Tale, is characterized by The Miller as barring “hair, shining like gold”, “twenty manners of trip and dance”, and “school that reigned in Oxford” (Pg. 100-101). The Miller’s description of Absalom being “light and gay” and “a bit squeamish of farting and of language hautedish” characterize the Miller’s disliking of religion and his disapproving of cleanliness, class, and fine education (Pg. 101). Further making Absalom fall in love with Abigail, thus becoming “her ape” makes his education seem more pointless, as an educated man did something as embarrassing as kiss a bottom (Pg. 102). Nicholas, another character

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