Reflecting the Storyteller (Canterbury Tales)

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Sam Nelson
Fr. Fitzgibbons
English 190
Reflecting the Storyteller
It is said that people often look like their pets. Geoffrey Chaucer plays off this idea with his literary work, The Canterbury Tales, by making the character's story reflect upon the character him or herself. The description of a character is a sort of foreshadowing of what kind of tale he or she will tell. The stories are written so that the content and the style both relate to the storyteller's character. The Miller, a rough and rude man, demonstrates Chaucer's technique when he tells a tale of crude subject. "The Pardoner's Tale" demonstrates this as well. He is a sly and cunning man, one who is good at deceiving for gain. His tale preaches against the very sin that he commits, as to attain his own goal. Each storyteller projects a part of his or her character into the story that he or she tells.

Chaucer's description of the Miller is one that would most likely drive most women away, for he is described as a very strong and masculine man with immoral traits and a rude, obnoxious demeanor. Chaucer writes that the Miller is "As tough a yokel as you care to meet / The Miller was. His big-beefed arms and thighs / Took many a ram put up as wrestling prize" (The Miller's Tale, lines 532-534). Chaucer comments on the Miller's moral character, or rather his immoral character, several times, such as when he mentions that "He was a thick, squat-shouldered lump of sins" (The Miller's Tale, line 535). Again, the Miller's character is described as being immoral when Chaucer says, "He could steal corn and charge for it three times" (The Miller's Tale, line 546). Chaucer goes on and makes the Miller to come across as a rude and loud. "His mouth would open out / Like a great furnace, and he would sing and shout / His ballads and jokes of harlotries and crimes" (The Miller's Tale, 543-545).

"The Miller's Tale" is one of taboo topics: adultery, and defamation of character. "'The Miller's Tale'...
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