Chaucer: "The Miller's tale". Reading Questions

  1. Read the description of the Miller in The General Prologue. How is the Miller portrayed?
  2. What sort of tale does the Miller say he is going to tell?
  3. What does the narrator warn us about?
  4. What do we learn about the carpenter at the beginning of the tale?
  5. How is Nicholas described? What stuff does he keep in his room? What do his belongings suggest about his character?
  6. How is Alison described (her apparel and her physical features)? What do they suggest about her character?
  7. The narrator compares Alisoun to ten different animals and plants in nature. List three of these animals or plants.
  8. Read the description of Absolom, noting the kinds of images that dominate the description.
  9. What is his behavior like at church?
  10. How does Nicholas plan to make a fool of John? Why, do you think, John falls for the plan?
  11. How is Absolom punbished for his attempts to woo Alison?
  12. How is Nicholas punished?
  13. How is John punished?
  14. How do the people respond to John's plight?
  15. Do you think there is a moral to the story?
  16. How well do you think the characters live up to their place in society?
  17. What are the implications of the Miller's Tale in relation to the social issues of Chaucer's day?
  18. Does the fact that the Miller is drunk while telling his tale have anything to do with the content of the tale and how it is told?
  19. Is the tale concerned with the punishment of folly or is it for mere bawdy entertainment?