December 10th, 2007
Geoffrey Chaucer, a magnificent and extremely talented author, wrote a set of short stories called The Canterbury Tales. The tales are contained in what is called a “frame tale”, which is the main tale that every other one revolves around. These tales are told by a collection of pilgrims on an adventure from Southwark to Canterbury to visit a shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at the Canterbury Cathedral. One of his tales, The Reeve’s Tale, tells of how the Reeve was offended by the Miller’s tale. The Miller told a tale about a stupid carpenter, and the Reeve was also a carpenter, therefore he got his feelings hurt. Chaucer stresses chivalry and honor in most of his stories. In Chaucer’s time, these two ideas were what all people lived off of.
Osewold, the Reeve, is the manager of a huge estate. He took incredible profits for his master and himself. This skinny and ill-tempered man had once been a carpenter. This profession was made fun of in a previous tale, The Miller’s Tale, so Osewold responds to this mockery by bashing the Miller’s profession in the Reeve’s story.
The Miller’s name was Symkyn. He lived near Cambridge, in a town called Trumpington. This is where he stole meal and corn he was brought for grinding by customers. He was said to be an expert with knives, and a well taught bully. He had a wife who was the town clergyman’s daughter. This wasn’t legitimate back then, because Migliaccio 2
the Catholic priests did not marry. The Miller and his wife had a daughter of twenty years old named Malyne, and a six-month old son.
Two students from Cambridge University, John and Alan, wanted to set the Miller straight by beating him at his own game. They wanted to...