A Literary Analysis of the Parallels Between "The Knights Tale" and "The Miller's Tale" from the Canterbury Tales

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There are many parallels between Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Knights Tale" and "The Miller's Tale". Some of these parallels show likenesses and some of them show differences in the two stories. The plots of the stories are very similar. However, the characters' descriptions, motives, and actions are extremely different. By writing the two stories in this way, Chaucer ties them both together.

First of all, the plot of "The Knight's Tale" and the plot of "The Miller's Tale" are very alike. Both are about two men trying to court the same woman. The men compete in order to gain her favor. The motives of the men in the stories are very different though. In "The Knights Tale", Arcita and Palamon want to worship Emily for her purity and love her. They would like to marry her and be with her forever. Nicholas and Absalom from "The Miller's Tale" only want to sleep with Alison and have instant gratification. The women's motives are different, too. Emily prays that she can stay a virgin, then later wants love. Alison just wants to cheat on her husband without getting caught.

Another way the two stories parallel is the way the characters go about trying to get the lady. In "The Knight's Tale" the characters use noble courtship and chivalry. The men schedule a fair competition and fight for her. They pray to the gods for help and do not complain. The men from "The Miller's Tale" on the other hand, are sneaky and are not chivalrous at all. Nicholas just grabs Alison by the hips and is not gentlemanly when she tells him to let go. He and Absalom are trying to have sex with Alison even though she is married. Nicholas does not pray to the gods, he uses a story of God's from the Bible to trick John so that he may steal his wife. Nicholas and Absalom are in no way noble.

Chaucer is very descriptive of the characters in both stories. He describes Theseus as noble, wise and chivalrous. He says, "He was such a conqueror that greater was there not beneath the...
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