Miller's Tale

Essay by AEK August 2005

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The Miller's Tale

The Miller's Tale, which proceeds the Knight's Tale, is a story about men in love with the same woman. This tale begins when an astrology student named Nicholas takes up lodging with a wealthy, old carpenter named John. John is married to a beautiful 18 year old girl, Alison. John is jealous when Alison socializes with other men because he is afraid he will lose her. John is unaware that Nicholas is in love with Alison. While John is gone on a trip to Osney, Nicholas proclaims his love to Alison and begs her to satisfy him. Alison refuses because John is her husband and she should be faithful to him, but Nicholas does not give in until Alison threatens to cry for help. She admits that she loves him and they agree that they have to make a plan to get rid of her husband.

Another problem occurs when the parish clerk Absalom falls in live with the carpenter's wife during his clerical duties. Alison, however, ignores Absalom because she is in love with Nicholas.

During John's next trip to Osney, Nicholas and Alison devise a plan on how get rid of John. When John returns, Nicholas begins by staying in his room for such an unnatural amount of time that the servant knocks to find out if anything is wrong. When Nicholas does not respond, the servant looks through a small hole in the door made for the cat to come and go. He sees Nicholas sitting and gaping upward. He tells John that according to his astrological studies a flood is coming which will be even worse than Noah's. The only way they can survive is to stay in separate kneading tubs attached to the rafters. When the flood waters rise they can...