In “The Millers Tale” Alison is the main character. She is only eighteen years old and marries a much older man named John who is a carpenter. Alison is a free spirited and beautiful young lady but she lacks morals. For example she cheats on her husband which proves my point. Her husband was very protective over her. She was young and beautiful and he didn’t want to lose her. He tried to keep her on a short leash. “This carpenter hadde wedded newe a wif which that he loved more than his lif. Of eighteteene yeer she was of age; Jalous he was, and heeld hire narwe in cage, for she was wilde and yong , and he was old, and deemed himself been lik a cokewold”(241). She is very promiscuous and somewhat immature. This statement is proved because she sticks her ass into someone’s face later in the story and she fools around with Nicholas. Chaucer tries to portray Alison as an innocent onlooker in this tale. He compares her to nature which is innocent-like(“The Miller’s Tale Essay). In the end of the story she is the only one who is not punished for what she has done. I totally disagree with this statement and point that Chaucer is trying to make. I actually think the complete opposite, and believe that Alison knows exactly what she is doing and is very conniving and sneaky.
Chaucer describes Alison as naïve and compares her to the wild and nature a great number of times. “She was ful more blisful on to see than is the newe perejonette tree and softer than the wolle is of a wether”(242). This quote explains how truly beautiful Alison just really is. Instead of using her beauty for good she uses it for the worse. She has no remorse or consideration for anyone else’s feelings except herself. The tale clarifies that she is in fact too young to be involved in any sort of relationship, especially a marriage. Chaucer is trying to vindicate her innocence by linking her to flowers and nature, which are innocent and beautiful(“The Millers Tale Essay”). “She was a primerole, a piggesnye, for any lord to leggen in his bedde, or yit for any good yeman o weddle” (242).
Alison’s husband John considers her very precious and worships her. He feels very lucky to have her and will make sure he does not lose her. He does not let Alison go out by herself because of her extreme beauty and wild side. When Alison does go out she likes to wear clothing that shows off her body and curves. “Fair was this younge wif, and ther withal as any wesele hir body gent and small. A ceint she wered, barred al of silk; A barmclth as whit as morne milk upon hir lendes, ful of many a gore; Whit was hir smok, and broaden al before and eek bihinde, on hir coler aboute of co-blak silk, withinne and eek withoute(242).
All of these fashions that she wears are supposed to attract men.
In the tale, Alison and John have a roommate who is a student named Nicholas, he also happens to fancy Alison. Alison and Nicholas make a plan to fool John so they could have an affair together. Nicholas is known for being able to read the stars and predict the weather. Nicholas convinces John that God came to him and told him there was going to be a flood just like the bible story Noah and the Arc. Since John is a carpenter and all Nicholas tells him he should build a boat for the three of them, himself, Alison and Nicholas. After he builds them he should tie them to the rafters and put an axe with the boats so he can cut the ropes when the flood comes in within reach of them. John tells Alison what Nicholas said, Alison pretends to be scared and begs John to hurry and build the boat. “Allas, go forth they way anoon. Help us to scape, or we been dede eechoon” (250). John is in love with her so he listens to her and starts building the boat right away. This shows that Alison is very deceitful and does not care about John’s feelings at all.
After John is done building the boat he falls asleep because he has been working all day. Nicholas and Alison go to the bedroom to have sex. Just when they are about to have their affair a man named Absolon comes to Alison’s window. Absolon is a parish clerk who also fancies Alison and hates people who fart in public. He realizes that John is not home so he starts to serenade Alison. He tells her he will go away if she kisses him. Alison is fearful that old John will wake up so she grants his wish. Alison tells him to close his eyes then sticks her bare ass out the window and he ends up kissing it. “For wel he wiste a woman hath no beerd. He felt a thing al rough and long yheerd”(252). Absolon hears the two of them laughing and gets mad. He goes off to get a red hot flaming poker. When he returned he asked for another kiss. He tells Alison he brought her jewelry and will give her it if she kisses him again. This time Nicholas stuck his bare ass out the window and farted on him. Absolon shoved the red hot poker up his ass. Nicholas ends up shouting, “Help! Water! Water! Help, for Goddess herte” (254). John ends up waking up and thinks that the flood is here so he cuts the boat down and ends up falling and breaking his arm. Everyone in the town finds out about it and makes fun of John.
Throughout the tale, Alison is the only character that does not have something bad happen to her, even though she is the cause of all the problems in the tale. “And every wight gan laughen at this strif. Thus swived was the carpenters wif for al his keeping and his jalousie, and Absolon hath kist hir nether ye, and Nicholas is scalded in the toute: This tale is doon, and God save al the route”(255). She cheats on John, Absolon ends up kissing Nicholas and Alison’s ass, and Nicholas gets a poker shoved up his ass. Chaucer tries to portray Alison as the innocent one but it’s very hard to comprehend that by her actions. Being married is not what she desires and we as the readers are supposed to feel sorry for her. Chaucer describes her as being very beautiful and how all men can’t help but yearn for her, and because of this her actions are to be pardoned in the end. I don’t agree with this thought. Innocent is everything Alison is not. If she really loved John she would of never of contemplated cheating on him and going through with it. She embarrassed him and made him look like a fool. She also would not have given in to Nicholas if she were innocent. Since when is having an affair innocent? Lastly, no lady would stick there ass out a window and make someone kiss it. That proves she has no class and she is not innocent at all. She is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. I believe she is very manipulative to everyone in the story and some unpleasant incident should have happened to her in the end.
“The Millers Tale Essay.” Megaessays.com. 25 Feb. 2008