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Theme Of Humor In The Miller's Tale

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Geoffrey Chaucer pushed boundaries and told stories he knew his audience would want to hear. “The Miller’s Tale” as well as “The Reeve’s Tale” has crocodilian humor. Chaucer used bawdy and vulgar scenarios to generate laughter for the audience. His sardonic sense of humor made stories seem larger than life (Brewer, Derek). Both tales feature an elaborate plan for sexual gratification and have components of irony. He also utilized fabliaux to fill his stories with multiple sexual accounts that poke fun at the rules of courtly love. Chaucer’s humor had three main components – mockery, irony, and sadism. John, an older carpenter, with a young wife, is at the center of “The Miller’s Tale.” Chaucer mocks John for marrying a younger woman and the fact that their relationship does not follow the rules of courtly love. Courtly love suggests that jealousy strengthens relationships and equates to love. Alison did not feel more for her partner but instead wanted to get away from his overbearing attitude. John however truly loves his wife, “Alas, my wife! And shall she drown? Alas, my Alison” (The Miller’s Tale 414-145). When Nicholas tells of the flood, John is only concerned for his love, but Alison is involved in the larger than life plan so that she can finally feel free. Chaucer ups the hilarity with caricature. No one would truly tie tubs on the roof and warn of an apocalyptic flood to have sexual relations. Chaucer also used androgyny to muddy the waters in the tale. Given the
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