Canterbury Tales

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Katrina Nicholas
Ms. Dixon
British Literature
November 9, 2012
Revenge is Sweet – Affairs are Sour
The Reeve’s and Miller’s Tale contradict each other in many ways towards the characters ambitions and personalities. The Miller and Reeve try to get revenge on each other by insulting one another through these parables. The main themes in these stories are as follows: jealousy, revenge, and trickery. Jealousy is shown in the Reeve’s Tale because the scholars and the miller try to get even with each other throughout the entire story. Revenge is also exhibited in the story whereas the students, Alan and John, copulate with the daughter and wife of the miller, respectively. Trickery was applied in both stories, but most famously, the Miller’s Tale because John, a carpenter, is unknowingly involved in an affair with his wife, Alison and a scholar, Nicholas. Therefore, the themes and characters of each story do have similar traits, but contradicting points about the characters deception to the main character of each story.

First, the Reeve’s Tale teaches that the people whom you stole from can come back to haunt you. This tale does not teach finder-keepers-losers-weepers, but thieves can be stolen from as well; as it is said, “Who evil does should not expect some good” (Chaucer 4320) One of the names in the stories are the same, such as John, whom in the Reeve’s Tale was one of the scholars along with Alan whom copulate with the wife and daughter of the miller, Simkin, respectively (Chaucer 4195 – 98; 4228 – 33). While in the Miller’s Tale, John is the rich, old carpenter that has an eighteen-year old wife, Alisoun, whom he is overprotective of and gets extremely jealous easily. These two characters contradict each other as one is a jealous old man, while one is an attractive college student. It shows that there is a pattern; for example, Nicholas can be compared to the John from the Reeve’s Tale and the John from the Miller’s Tale can be compared to Simkin...
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