British Soc & Lit I: Blog Post 1 (Chaucer)

“The Miller’s Tale” & “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” from Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1386)

Blog posts due: Thursday, March 21

Write a post here of two paragraphs (about 200 words) discussing “The Miller’s Tale” or “The Wife of Bath’s Tale.” Choose one topic, or make your post a reply to someone else’s post.

  1. Is the Miller’s Tale disgusting or offensive, or just silly? Why might people find it funny?
  2. Do you feel sorry for John the husband, or does he get what he deserves?
  3. Everyone in the Miller’s Tale is punished in some way, except for Alison, who does what she wants. Is this true, or fair?
  4. Is there some kind of moral lesson in the Miller’s Tale?
  5. What is either story saying about love?
  6. What is the Wife of Bath saying about marriage in her tale?
  7. Do you agree with the Wife of Bath’s logic or arguments? Do they make sense?
  8. Although the Wife of Bath wins over her husband, he is still technically a rapist. Is he a sympathetic character? Do you like him?
  9. Is Alison or the Wife of Bath a stronger woman? What do you think Chaucer thinks of women in these stories?

14 thoughts on “British Soc & Lit I: Blog Post 1 (Chaucer)

  1. HaeRi Seo

    3. Everyone in the Miller’s Tale is punished in some way, except for Alison, who does what she wants. Is this true, or fair?

    In the Miller’s Tale, everyone such as John, Nicholas, and Absalom are punished in various ways. For example, because of John’s jeaslously to Alison, he is punished by being deceived from Nicholas and Alison’s tricks, that the flood of Noah is coming, and in the end he is eventually considered crazy in the town. Nicholas got his bum burned because he flirted with Alison and that he tried to make fun of Absalom’s love. Lastly, Absalom kissed Nicholas’s bum because of his desire to kiss Alison even though she didn’t want to.
    As a result, all of the characters in this tale except Alison got punished, and I personally think that this isn’t fair. Even though Alison was married to John, she had an affair with Nicholas and also agreed on the tricks to run away with him. She even made fun of Absalom even though he loved her. She has done all of the things in the way she wants. I think she should be definitely punished.

  2. Kim minji

    In my opinion, “The Miller’s Tale” is silly, but quite clever story. Because, the story that has love, kind of dirty, and humor in the end is always popular of all ages. It is an old story, so there’s some stimulating source in it, but it’s structure is similar to these days’ drama.
    People can laugh at carpenters silliness, or they might find fun at a scene that Absalom, kiss to Alison’s butt. Or they might laugh when Nicolas’s butt wounded by agricultural implement. People always like stimulate story that gives them pleasure. Especially silly one. It might be a guilty pleasure, but people still love it.

  3. heejin An

    6. What is the Wife of Bath saying about marriage in her tale?

    In the tale, the wife of bath says the ideal marriage life is that women control husbands and have leadership about their marriage of life. At the start of the tale, she raises a question why women can not take several husbands like Abraham and Issac did. Referring to the word in Bible saying, ”Therefore a man will leave this father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh”, she insists that God did not tell about the number of marriage. Also she says that she has free to marry as what she wants with making mention of St, Paul’s message, which says, “But if they don’t have self-control, let them marry. For it’s better to marry than burn”. Likewise, she kept saying her right to have marriage life in her way based on words and story in Bible.
    So, I think the wife of the bath wanted to dominate over men about marriage. Also, It can be shown when a knights asked a question about what women most wants. The answer was that women want to have leadership about the love and husband and reign over men.

  4. Jaeyun Park

    6. What is the Wife of Bath saying about marriage in her tale?

    In the Wife of Bath’s story, I thought wife of Bath was saying marriage is a kind of exchange. She says when men get married, they should get women’s bodies. And women will conquer men after that. Also, she says she needs a debtor or a slave husband in the story. It makes her feel that marriage is not a true love but an exchange of things for each other.
    In addition, as I can see through some parts, she thinks marriage as a kind of conquest. I think she wants to win over men by the marriage not love. Therefore, I think Wife of Bath saying about marriage as exchange and conquest.

  5. Jaeyun Park

    In the Wife of Bath’s story, I thought wife of Bath was saying marriage is a kind of exchange. She says when men get married, they can get women’s bodies. And women will conquer men after that. She thinks it is very natural behavior. She thinks she needs to win over her husband as a cost of giving her virginity. Also, she says she needs a debtor or a slave husband in the story. If he thinks marriage as a real love, she didn’t treat her husband like that. It makes her feel that marriage is not a true love but an exchange of things for each other.
    In addition, as I can see through some parts, she thinks marriage as a kind of conquest. I think she wants to win over men by the marriage not love. In the story, she mentioned the number of her marriage and men who she experienced. She continuosly says it is not bad that marry many times. From these comments, we can find her thought that love is not that important. Therefore, I think Wife of Bath saying about marriage as exchange of men and women’s own needs and the way of conquer other ones.

  6. Gyeongyeon Kim

    2. Do you feel sorry for John the husband, or does he get what he deserves?

    I feel sorry for John the husband. John did not let his young and beautiful wife go out from house because he was jealous and worried. And he was so stupid as to believe Nicolas’s words without doubt .These are John’s faults. But I think that ultimately the punishment he received was greater than his fault.

    His arm was broken because of this accident, which would have had a great negative impact on his career as a carpenter. As a result, he must have had a hard time in keeping a living.And he was treated like a madman by the villagers and was laughed at by them. Also given this situation, I think his wife, Alison, left him with Nicolas. In conclusion, this accident made John a pitiful man who lost his job, lost his wife and even lost the people around him. I think John was punished more for his fault than the other characters like Nicolas and Absalom. This is harsh and unfair. So I feel sorry for John the carpenter.

  7. Kim Jung Yeon

    7. Do you agree with the Wife of Bath’s logic or arguments? Do they make sense?

    In the story, the lady defends her weaknesses that the knight did not like. Personally, I agree with most of her logic except for two.
    First, she the Wife of Bath argued that her age cannot be a demerit because a gentleman should respect the aged. At this point, she is off the point. The knight is suggesting that he is not attracted to her because she is old, thus cannot love her. She is insisting that successful marriage can be made without love but only with respect for the aged.
    Second, she says that her ugliness is also not a problem because the knight would not have to worry about being cheated on. Following this logic, attractive and young women are more likely to have an affair than ugly women. Cheating on his/her partner is related to the person’s morality not the spouse’s appearance. You may have an affair with Jeon Won Ju even if you are dating Kim Tae Hee.

  8. Kang, Byung Hyun

    7. Do you agree with the Wife of Bath’s logic or arguments? Do they make sense?
    As a tale I liked the plot and question that the knight had to solve. The answer to the two questions were fresh enough to please me through reading. Especially the last question from the hag. There was no such choice as for the hag to choose. But the knight through the precedent experience he made up hidden answer from the question. Sometimes answers are to be sought while hiding its appearance. It was an enlightenment for me to admire the writer. However One point I disagree with is the point that a knight has raped an innocent woman and he wasn’t responsible for what he did. People can argue if this kind of indulgence is given to someone. No one would try to keep the rules of the kingdom and pray for another question to be given.

  9. Kim Yejin

    3.
    I think Alison has to be punished too. There could be some people who think Alison is poor because she had to marry an old man at a beautiful age. If we only think it as this way, Alison could look poor. But the thing is that she had an affair with Nicolas. Marring an old man that she is not in love with, can’t justify her behavior. Having an affair is bad and she would probably know it. But she didn’t seem to feel guilty meeting Nicolas. She was just happy that she could stay with him and not get bothered by her husband, John. John was old but liked her and only though about her. While she was blinded by love with another man.
    Another reason I think Alison has to be punished too is because of the attitude she treated Absalom. Absalom wasn’t a good man, but it doesn’t mean she could humiliate him for the reason he likes her. There could be lots of other ways to turn his heart, but she just made fun of him with Nicolas. Alison and Nicolas is same kind of person. It is unfair for only Nicolas to get punished.

  10. Kim Jahyun

    1. Is the Miller’s Tale disgusting or offensive, or just silly? Why might people find it funny?

    It is said to be the dirtiest story in the Canterbury story.
    However, it was rather embarrassing because it was not as bad as worrying.
    This story seems to tell dirty jokes of the people of the past.
    To be honest, the content itself seems to show dirty, stupid people, such as Absalom kissing alison’s bum and John believing Nicholas’s absurd remarks.
    But if you think about this story’s setting, when you talk to each other in an inn, and they’re having a war of nerves because they think their story is more interesting, I felt that there would be no other choice but to come up with provocative content.
    Because people are more interested in provocative stories than ordinary ones.
    In this story, people must have had fun that in the scene in which Nicholas tries to deceive Absalom, but he gets hurt, and in the scene where Nicholas shouted “Water!” because his bum was so hot, John really thought there was a flood in the town and cut off the cords which are hang the tub.
    I think this story has given people a lot of fun as a story that can be enjoyed lightly.

  11. Yu Sieun

    Even if the knight was won over by his old, ugly wife and handed over the right of the choice to his wife, the fact that he is a rapist is unforgettable and should not be pitied.
    He took away the maiden’s virginity and was punished by the Queen.
    In a way, the queen gave him a year and a day to learn about women’s rights and freedom, rather than executed right away.
    And she made a wise decision to punish him if he didn’t realize it.

    However, he tried to avoid irresponsibly as soon as he heard the demands of an old woman who saved his life and was forced to marry, but he did not respect her human rights, saying he was disgusted by her.
    Although the knight later gave his wife the initiative to live the way she wanted to, I think it was a reluctant choice that because he knew she was smarter than him.
    When his wife returned to her beautiful appearance, the way he clapped and liked made me wonder if they could have a happy marriage if she had been ugly to the end.
    That’s why I think he should have been punished, let alone sympathize, because he didn’t realize much about the Queen’s question. In a word, I don’t like him.

  12. Yu Sieun

    8.Although the Wife of Bath wins over her husband, he is still technically a rapist. Is he a sympathetic character? Do you like him?

    Even if the knight was won over by his old, ugly wife and handed over the right of the choice to his wife, the fact that he is a rapist is unforgettable and should not be pitied.
    He took away the maiden’s virginity and was punished by the Queen.
    In a way, the queen gave him a year and a day to learn about women’s rights and freedom, rather than executed right away.
    And she made a wise decision to punish him if he didn’t realize it.

    However, he tried to avoid irresponsibly as soon as he heard the demands of an old woman who saved his life and was forced to marry, but he did not respect her human rights, saying he was disgusted by her.
    Although the knight later gave his wife the initiative to live the way she wanted to, I think it was a reluctant choice that because he knew she was smarter than him.
    When his wife returned to her beautiful appearance, the way he clapped and liked made me wonder if they could have a happy marriage if she had been ugly to the end.
    That’s why I think he should have been punished, let alone sympathize, because he didn’t realize much about the Queen’s question. In a word, I don’t like him.

  13. Seo hyo won

    Do you agree with the wife of Bath wins over her husband, he is still technically a rapist. Is he a sympathetic character? Do you like him?

    The knight committed a crime of raping a woman. The act was punishable and the punishment for the crime was appropriate, but the merciful queen gave him a chance to live. The queen raised a question to the knight. ‘What does a woman want most?’ But the knight don’t get an answer to the question on its own. Then an old woman came up with the answer. With the help of her, he was able to live. In return, he had to marry her but complained about her appearance, but he couldn’t break his promise with her. She gave the knight two options. But the knight left her with the freedom of choice. When the knight gave her what women most wanted, freedom of choice, she turned into a young, beautiful, even sincere, as the knight wanted.

    Would the knight be happy if she was still an old woman without turning into a beautiful figure? The knight didn’t understand the answer to the queen’s question. Women are free to choose what they look like. The story seems to depict who are women forced to live in a frame set by society and men at that time. The old woman’s appearance is what the knight wants from the woman. Youth, beauty, and a devoted attitude to her husband, all this is what the knight wants from the woman. He married the woman he wanted, without paying the price for the crime, despite having committed a grave sin that raped a woman. I have no sympathy for him and don’t like him

  14. Lee Jimin

    Although the Wife of Bath wins over her husband, he is still technically a rapist. Is he a sympathetic character? Do you like him?

    A knight was a rapist and an forgivable sinner. The crimes he committed deserve severe punishment, but the Queen, who was entrusted with the punishment, gave him a year to find out the answer to “what do women want most in the world?” Finding out the answer to this question with the help of an old woman, not of himself, he was able to escape execution. In short, it is not the result of his own making. By the condition of the old woman, he ends up marrying the old woman, but he is reluctant to marry her because she is old and ugly. This showed that the knight was not sincerely grateful to the old woman and was not satisfied with the marriage because he was old and ugly. This was very disappointing.
    Finally, in the old woman’s logical persuasion, the article entrusts the wife with all the initiative in marriage, but this is not a voluntary choice but an inevitable choice. Even the old woman, who has heard the answer she wants, answers her way into a beautiful woman.

    This ending asked me, “Would the knight be happy with his marriage to the old woman if he hadn’t turned into a beautiful woman?” Maybe, I think this answer is “no.” The knight didn’t have any deep thoughts about these questions and answers, though he had heard from the old woman about the queen’s question, “What do women want most in the world?” as a means to avoid execution. Rather, he was reluctant to marry her just because the old woman was ugly and vulgar, and was forced to give her the initiative.
    In conclusion, he is a rapist and was not punished accordingly. He’s no longer a character to sympathize with and I don’t like him.

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