Canterbury Tales (Reeve Charac

Topics: The Canterbury Tales, The Reeve's Tale, The Miller's Tale Pages: 3 (809 words) Published: October 8, 1999
In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer's descriptive technique used to present the Reeve emphasized his physical characteristics as well as the success he attained in his occupation. It is evident that Chaucer gives two different perceptions of the Reeve, one perception is of his physical makeup and the other is of his success achieved in his occupation.

In Chaucer's introduction of the Reeve, he immediately begins with the Reeve's physical makeup, as shown in this excerpt from The Canterbury Tales:
"His beerd was shave as neigh as evere he can;
His heer was by his eres ful round yshorn;
His top was dokked lik a preest biforn;
Ful longe were his legges and ful lene,
Ylik a staf, ther was no calf yseene (590-594)."
This excerpt shows the attention to detail Chaucer selected to introduce the Reeve. Chaucer also gives the Reeve a name, which is not commonly done for most pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer announces the Reeve's name in The Miller's Tale, as shown in this excerpt:

"The Reeve looked up and shouted, ‘Shut
your trap!'. . . To this the drunken Miller responded,
‘My dear old brother Oswald, such is life...'
This excerpt from The Miller's Tale shows Chaucer getting very specific by connecting the Reeve with a name. This act of naming the Reeve gives evidence to support the argument that the Reeve seems to be more of a specific individual than a representative of a large class of people. After Chaucer presents the physical characteristics of the Reeve, he then describes the Reeve's occupation. A reeve by definition is a minor official or superintendent on an estate, generally an intermediary between a lord and his serfs. His job included being responsible and accountable for all his master's accounts and animals, as shown in this excerpt from The Canterbury Tales:

"His swin, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye
was hoolly in the Reeves governinge,
and by his covenant yaf the...
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