The Miller’s Tale
(A) The Canterbury Tales is a late fourteenth century work written by Geoffrey Chaucer. It is a collection of tales that are presented by many different characters. Chaucer originally wanted the characters to tell 4 tales each – 2 on the way to Canterbury and 2 on the way back. However the book was published with only 24 tales total and the group has not reached Canterbury yet. There is a drunk on every road trip, and this one happens to be the Miller.
(B) A miller is at the bottom of the food chain, in the peasant class. A miller usually operates a mill that grinds cereal crop to make flour to feed the higher class. However, Chaucer’s Miller was “talented” at feeling how much grain was in his hand and stealing it. He was a strong and stout man, with a bright red beard. The Miller has many tavern stories, including the tale he tells on the way to Canterbury. Many of them are seen as inappropriate for the time period. The legitimacy of his stories could be questioned since he was usually drunk. Before he tells his tale, he asks the other travelers not to hold him accountable for what he says because of his drunken state.
(C) The Miller is not a very honest man. In Chaucer’s prologue it states, “His was a master-hand at stealing grain.” He is supposed to be tending the crops to feed the upper class, but is too busy stealing it for himself. His tale is also one where a clerk makes a fool of a carpenter. The Miller says that he doesn’t worry about another man sleeping with his own wife because it is not any of his business. This shows that his morals are very loose.
(D) The Miller has a bad habit of interrupting people. After the Knight tells his tale, the Host asks the Monk to go next. But the Miller does not want to wait his turn and bellows out that he has a story to tell. The Host tells the Miller to wait but the Miller threatens to leave unless he gets to tell his tale. He also has a bad habit of drinking too much, so he is drunk...