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Flashcards in The Millers Tale Deck (6)
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The prologue.

After the knight had finished his story, everyone thought it was very admirable, especially the cultured. The host said it was a good story to start with. Now the bag of stories have been opened, let the games begin, turned to the monk and asked him to tell a story.

The Miller was very drunk so much so he was very pale and could barely stay on his horse. He wouldn't doff his hat to anyone but insisted that he went next. He swore by christs arms, legs and bones I know a story for the occasion.

The host seeing he was drunk asked him to wait his turn.
Miller threatens to leave
Host - fine tell your story you idiot.

Miller explains he is drunk and that any mispronunciation is a consequence of this. He says he will tell a tale about a carpenter and his wife and how a student made a fool of the carpenter.

Reeve - angry tells him he is a loudmouth telling drunken stories and that it is wicked to libel a man and bring a wife into disrepute.
Miller - you know it is not you I am talking about, you have no wife so cannot be a cuckold! 1000 good wives for every bad, as you know unless you have gone soft in the head. I have a wife and I am content to believe myself not a cuckold, husband shouldn't pry too much into the secret ways of God and his wife. No point asking questions.

What else can I say but that the Miller wouldn't check his story for anyone but told a crude story in his style. By love of god I beg you to see that I am merely repeating the stories and bit concocting this wickedness.

If you do not want to listen turn the page and find a moral story. Don't blame me if choose wrong, you know the Miller is a boor. As is the reeve and others. Listen carefully and don't blame me.


Millers tale - section 1

Once upon s time there was a riche gnof who lived in Oxford. He took in paying guests and was a carpenter.

His paying guest was a poor scholar, who had become interested in astrology and could now learnt to predict rain and other things. Courteous Nicholas - knew about sexual affairs and attraction but he was cunning, discreet and as a meek as a maid.
Smelt of ginger spice - stimulant
Private rooms - books and astrology equipment. Beautiful harp. Clothes cupboard covered in red clothe.

The Miller had just married a wife. She was 18 and beautiful and he feared he would be cuckolded as he was old and she youthful and untamed, so be kept her constrained in the house. He had not heard Cato's advice that you should marry someone of the same age. But he had to put up with his troubles now he had fallen into this trap.

Alison wore as white as morning milk, with black lace and a high headdress. A white cap with ribbons that matched her collar, boots laced up legs.

She was lovelier to look at than a pear tree, softer than Rams wool, no prettier wench in the world. More glistening complexion than a noble. Come hither look in her eyes.
Mouth as sweet as ale and honey.

Sang like a swallow in a barn
Played and skipped like a calf or a kid following this mother.
Skittish like a playful horse
Straight backed as an arrow to a crossbow


Millers tale - section 2

One day when Miller was at Osney, the YOUNG scholar gripped Alison by the Quentye and said if he didn't have his desire he would die of love for her. He held her hips and said if didn't make love to him straight away he would die of love for her.
She jumped away like a young horse tossing her head and told him to mind his manners and that she'd scream alas and help, I don't want to kiss you.

He begged and asked so nicely that she relented and gave him her love by Saint Thomas, said she would do whatever he wanted when she had the chance.

Warned him to be patient as her husband was jealous and would kill her, he said a scholar would have been wasting his time if he couldn't outwit a carpenter. Patted her loins, kissed her and played fast and melodious tunes on the harp.


Millers tale - section 3

Alison went to the parish on holy day (Goode wyf) her forehead gleamed like daylight so thoroughly washed was it when she had done.

Deacon was called Absolon. He had curly hair that shone like gold, a red complexion, light blue tunic, eyes as a grey as a goose. Exact hair parting. Red stockings. Shoes with Windows of St. Paul's on.

He was:
Good at blood letting, hair cutting, negotiating housing contracts, relinquishing land sang, played the fiddle, danced 20 dances
Played Herod
Visited beer houses with lively barmaids
BUT squeamish about farting and fastidious about how spoke.
He censed wives with frankincense, looked lovingly at them but especially at Alison. Wouldn't accept collection money from them as he had such a love longing. He would have caught her if she was a mouse and he a cat.

At night Absolon took his cithern hoping to wake up the lovers, he felt amorous and jolly. He went outside the carpenters window and softly sang to her in a refined voice:
Now dear lady if you will, I beg you to take pity on me.
Carpenter asked if Alison can hear, she says yes I can hear every bit of it.

tries to woo Alison everyday and becomes miserable. He wakes all the time, combs his hair, does himself up nicely, use go betweens, sends her gifts of spiced wine and ales, sings like a nightingale, swears to be her servant.
Sent money as heard that's what towns women like, others won by courtesy and others by beating.
Sometimes played Herod on wagon to demonstrate talent.

It was all futile, she loves Nicholas. He is blowing a Rams horn, she scolds and mocks him. It is true that the cunning lover near at hand makes the distant lover hated. Nicholas outs him in the shade.

Good luck Nicholas for absolon can weep and sing alas.


Millers tale - section 4

Nicholas and Alison agreed on a plan, Nicholas must devise a clever scheme to trick John so that they could spend the night together as they both desired.

Nicholas didn't delay but gathered enough food and drink to last a few days and told Alison that if John asks where he is, say you haven't seen him, you think he's ill, maid got no response.

He did not come out all of Saturday and by Sunday the carpenter was worried. Seen a corpse carried by that had been at work on Monday. Feared he was ill/dying. He sent up his servant to knock on door with stone and tell him straight what the situation was.

The servant boy ran boldly upstairs, knocked on the door but had no response. He saw a hole in the door where the cat went in, looked through and saw Nicholas sat stone still gaping up at the ceiling like a wolf at the moon. He ran down to tell John.

John crossed himself and said that it was a consequence of his studies, as he had predicted, because of his studies of astrology he had fallen to madness. You should not pry into gods secret matters, forever happy is the uneducated man who knows his creed only. He knew a scholar who went s similar way, falling into a clay pit. But he felt sorry for Nicholas, would tell him off for his study.

He got a stick and robin lifted up the door as John heeded it. Nicholas sat constantly still. John thought he was in a depressed state so shook and told to think of Christ. He made sign of the cross and recited special night prayer on all the corners of the house and the doorstep.

Eventually Nicholas sighed and said ' alas must all the world be lost'. John enquirer and he said he would let him know once he had brought him food and water. He did so and locked the door. Nicholas said he was going to tell him God's word and so he mustn't tell anyone else like a blabber mouth because he would be betraying God and would loose soul. John said he wouldn't as he was no blabber mouth.

Nicholas revealed that he had foreseen that there was going to be another Noah's flood on 1/4 next Monday night. Said it will be so bad that Noah's ark wasn't half as big. Whole world will be drowned in 30mins.

John - very upset for Alison. Alas my Alison, alas my wife. Almost collapsed with grief.

Nicholas claimed he knew how to save him and Alison, couldn't save Gill and Robin, Gods will don't ask why. If follows his advice he can be saved. Solomon said 'Act advisedly and you won't be sorry'. Like how Noah saved from flood due to gods pre warning. But recall how he struggled to get his wife in the boat (mystery plays) no time to waste with speeches etc.

He got John to go and buy watering troughs, enough food to last a day ( flood would be over by nine) axes to cut themselves down with. Set high in rafters so no one can see. Then you'll swim as cheerfully as a white duck after her drake. He will say hi A, Hi J cheer up water nearly gone and they will be lords of the world.

When in tubs no one can speak or cry out unless to say prayers. He and Alison must not be next to each other so cannot sin, gods will do not ask. Now go, must make haste, ' send the wise man and be quiet' you are sufficiently wise do go save our lives I beg.

John worked all week, made handmade ladders, sent Gill and Robin away. He told Alison who understood real intent but feigned and told him to go help them escape as I am your 'true and faithful wife, go dear husband!'

How strange emotion is. He would shake and weep as if he saw the flood coming for Alison.

Get into tubs. Nicholas says our father. They repeat then not another word. John exhausted so falls asleep, snores as head in uncomfortable position and very troubled.


Millers tale - section 5

Nicholas and Alison climbed down quietly, went to johns bed and engaged in fun and melody, amusement and mutual comfort till the early morning bell rang.

Absolon was at Osney with some monks, he asked one after John who said he hadn't seen him, probably away collecting timber for the Abbott. He was overjoyed, decides at cock crow to secretly go to Alison's window and confess his love for Alison, bound to give her a kiss. Needed consolation as mouth had itched all day and dreamt of feasts - signs. Took a nap so would be ready.

When awoke he got dressed quickly in colourful clothes, chewed grain of paradise and liquorice to make breath smell sweet. Put love knot under tongue in hope that it would make him more attractive.

Went to carpenters window, stood and asked how are you doing my sweet honeycomb, sweet Alison, my beautiful bird, my sweet smelling cinnamon. Awake and speak to me. You do not think of my misery but for my love for you I sweat and nearly faint. I pine like a lamb for teat. Yearn like a faithful turtle dove.

Alison calls him an idiot and says she loves someone else more than him. Threatens to throw a stone.
Absolon - oh loves woe, for Jesus' sake give me a kiss.
Alison agrees as means will leave her alone. Absolon kneels and is happy as feels more to follow.
Alison sticks bum out of window, Absolon kisses assiduously before realising it isn't right as can feel beard. She slams window, his hears Nicholas shouting a beard a beard. Decided needs revenge.

Absolon rubs lips with dust and sand. Kept saying he would give soul to the devil for revenge. He was cold and cured of love sickness, scorned lovers and wept like a thrashed child.

He goes to the blacksmith who tease saying a girl has got you moving. He ignores him and instead asks for poker, claims he will explain later.

He returns to Alison's house saying he has his mothers gold ring that he will give her for another kiss. Nicholas about to go pisse but he thought it would be funnier if Absolon kissed his butt. Absolon asked to speak and Nicholas farted. Absolon hit it with a hot poker, strip of skin as wide as hand came off. He thought he was dying so called for water.

The carpenter woke suddenly, hearing the cries of water cut the rope and plummeted to the ground, breaking and arm and becoming concussed. Nicholas and Alison cry woe, and everyone in the street come out to gape at John. Pale and stood up, tried to explain but Alison and Nicholas shout down saying he was mad and fixated on the flood. Everyone laughed at him and dismissed him as a clever man had said mad.

carpenters wife fucked, in spite of watchfulness and jealousy. Absolon kissed lower eye and Nicholas burnt his bum. God save the whole company.