The Miller's Tale: Reasonable Winners and Emotional Losers

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In many stories we are accustomed to, the “good” characters that are kind and affectionate triumph over the “evil”, who manipulate the weak through trickery. However, in Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale, the winner has qualities of a villain while the loser has benign qualities of winners. The three male characters, John, Absolon and Nicholas, who all have great affections for Alisoun, face different ends. Absolon who is able to get a hold of his emotions after his struggle with Alisoun, meets a victory while John meets a bitter end because of his great love for her. Nicholas, despite his great success in trickery loses focus and gets burnt harshly by Absolon. In the Miller’s Tale, the character’s ability to reason and overcome their emotions determines their final victory. In the Miller’s Tale, John is the epitome of a man who is overcome by his emotions. John, despite his wealth, is a carpenter who is highly uneducated for he is peasant. Because he is uneducated, he has no choice but to depend on his emotions in making his judgements. He must decide the right and wrong based from his feelings. Unfortunately, this leaves him vulnerable to those that can notice his inablity to think for himself. Nicholas and Aliouson is very aware of John’s weaknesses. Knowning Johns devoted love for Alisoun, the two easily tricks him into thinking that a flood greater than that of Noah’s is coming. Greatly overcome by emotinos and fear that Alisoun might die John fools even the most ridiculous instructions given to him. Never once does John question Nicholas’s motives or words. Poor John, however, does not only care for Alisoun but even for Nicholas as well. He shows his worries for Nicholas saying “Me reweth soore of hende Nicholas” and visits his room to check up on him (Chaucer 276). Of course, John again, cannot see that Nicholas is acting and tricking him. He is too succumbed to his emotions by the time Nicholas talks about Alisoun’s danger, John forgets to ask nicholas the...
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