Jeffrey Chaucer – Canterbury Tales

Nick Migliaccio Migliaccio 1 Mr. Bryner English III December 10th, 2007 Geoffrey Chaucer, a magnificent and extremely talented author, wrote a set of short stories called The Canterbury Tales. The tales are contained in what is called a “frame tale”, which is the main tale that every other one revolves around. These tales are told by a collection of pilgrims on an adventure from Southwark to Canterbury to visit a shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at the Canterbury Cathedral.

One of his tales, The Reeve’s Tale, tells of how the Reeve was offended by the Miller’s tale. The Miller told a tale about a stupid carpenter, and the Reeve was also a carpenter, therefore he got his feelings hurt. Chaucer stresses chivalry and honor in most of his stories. In Chaucer’s time, these two ideas were what all people lived off of. Osewold, the Reeve, is the manager of a huge estate. He took incredible profits for his master and himself. This skinny and ill-tempered man had once been a carpenter.

This profession was made fun of in a previous tale, The Miller’s Tale, so Osewold responds to this mockery by bashing the Miller’s profession in the Reeve’s story. The Miller’s name was Symkyn. He lived near Cambridge, in a town called Trumpington. This is where he stole meal and corn he was brought for grinding by customers. He was said to be an expert with knives, and a well taught bully. He had a wife who was the town clergyman’s daughter. This wasn’t legitimate back then, because Migliaccio 2 he Catholic priests did not marry. The Miller and his wife had a daughter of twenty years old named Malyne, and a six-month old son. Two students from Cambridge University, John and Alan, wanted to set the Miller straight by beating him at his own game. They wanted to accomplish this because the Miller’s last job was to grind for Cambridge University’s Solar Hall, and he overcharged for the job. These two students were extremely mad at what Symkyn had done, and that’s when they made the vow to beat him.

When they went to get corn and meal grinded from the Miller, they packed even more flour than usual. They were planning on watching Symkyn grind it, but he untied their horse, and they didn’t finally catch it until nightfall. Symkyn stole even more corn than usual because he knew they had a plan, and he wanted to prove that most scholars weren’t as smart as their title said them to be. John and Alan finally got back to Symkyn’s house. They were so tired from chasing the horse the whole day that they offered to pay him to stay overnight there with his family.

Symkyn challenged them with the task of making his family’s single bedroom house into a grand house, which after much work they completed. The sleeping arrangements were now Symkyn and his wife in one bed, with their young son in his cradle at the foot of their bed, Symkyn’s daughter in another bed, and Jon and Alan in the third bed. Migliaccio 3 John and Alan waited a while for Symkyn and his family to fall asleep from drinking too much wine, and then they had time to plan their revenge on him.

They formulated a plan that would surely show the Miller they were not a force to be reckoned with. Alan got out of his bed and crawled into Symkyn’s daughter’s bed, Malyne, and prevented her from crying out for help. She and Alan had sex three times that night. The Miller’s wife had gotten up to go to the bathroom after drinking all that wine. While she was gone, John got out of bed and moved the babies crib in front of his bed, so when the wife came back she would think that John’s bed was actually her husband’s.

The plan worked like a charm, and as planned, she felt the crib in front of John’s bed and got in with him. They made love during the rest of the night. As morning came, Alan and Malyne were the first ones to get up. Malyne got her good-byes from Alan, and she was so happy with last night she had made him a cake with the flour her father had stolen from them in the first place. After receiving the cake from the Miller’s daughter, Alan went to wake up John, who was still in the same bed as Symkyn’s wife.

Being that the baby’s crib was in front John’s bed, instead of the Miller’s, Alan went to the Miller’s bed and shook his pillow instead of John’s. Symkyn woke up extremely flustered and mad, and was then hit by his own wife with a club. His wife thought it was one of the students, and that’s why she hit him. After all this, John and Alan high-tailed it out of there because they didn’t want the Miller to beat them to death. Migliaccio 4 Work Cited Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. “The Reeve’s Tale”. Fine Creative Media, Inc. 322 Eighth Avenue. New York, NY. 10001.

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