Chaucer ‘The Canterbury Tales’ Essay

The Canterbury Tales were written by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1370. The General Prologue gives a description of all the characters in The Canterbury Tales, however, in this essay, I am going to concentrate on The Miller and The Pardoner.

In the prologue the Miller is presented as a bit of an idiot who uses his muscles more than his brain, ‘There wasn’t any door he couldn’t leave off its hinges or break by running at it with his head,’. He was also a bit of a petty thief and a brute, ‘He carried a sword and buckler by his side,’, ‘ He was very good at stealing and taking three times what he was owed,’. He is also not very pleasant to look at, he was fat ‘With big muscles and big of bone as well,’ he had lots of blemishes too, ‘on the top right if his nose he had a wart, on which stood a tuft of hairs,’. He is reflected in his tale because his tale is rude and has an element of trickery involved.

The Pardoner is made out to be a scam artist in the General Prologue because he tells people that he is connected to god and if they give him money their sins will be forgiven, ‘He made the person and the people his fools,’ ‘And so with double talk and tricks,’. He is also very ugly but doesn’t know it, ‘He though his appearance matched the latest fashion,’ ‘His eyes were big and bulging,’. His tricky nature is reflected in his story, the three drunk men try to find and kill ‘death’. They find an old man who tells them that they will find death underneath a tree, so they go to the tree and the find treasure. They all plot to kill each other with tricks, however, they all manage to kill each other – ’After all treasure divided 2 ways was better than treasure divided 3 ways,’ and then death comes to collect his treasure.’ ‘ Indeed they did find death upon that path and under that tree,’.

In conclusion, I think that the Miller and the Pardoner are just as bad as each other and I would not like to travel with either one of them. The two portraits are also very different because one of them is very humorous and the other is a bit more serious but they are both based on trickery.

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