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Geoffrey Chaucers Canterbury Tales - Book Report/Review Example

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Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales has been celebrated as one of the major examples of the grandeur of Chaucer's poetic style and it is fundamental to analyse the Miller's description of Alisoun in The Miller's Tale in order to comprehend the elements of style used by Chaucer…
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Geoffrey Chaucers Canterbury Tales
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Download file to see previous pages It is generally recognised that Chaucer's portraits, like his settings and other extended uses of description, work deeply into themes and plots of the narrative. The Miller's Tale, along with The Reeve's Tale, has been greatly celebrated as the best example of Chaucer's so-called fabliaux and it clearly reflects the poet's application of the rhetorical style to stories of low life. As Charles Muscatine asserts, the effect of Chaucer's portraits is greatly influenced by devices such as the placement or suppression of details and the "portrait of Alisoun in The Miller's Tale depends on a submerged conventionalism, both in arrangement and in the categories of things described. Without it the rural imagery would lose some of its charm and meaning." (Muscatine 1999, P. 10). A profound exploration of the elements of style used by Chaucer in the Miller's description of Alisoun in The Miller's Tale, such as features of grammar, diction, imagery, figurative language and rhyme, can bring out the effectiveness of Chaucer's poetic style in relation to the themes and plots of the narrative. Along with this discussion, the paper undertakes an analysis of what the passage reveals about the Miller's attitude towards women in comparison to Knight's description of Emelye, in The Knight's Tale.
In a reflective analysis of the Miller's description of Alisoun in The Miller's Tale, it becomes lucid that the port...
er, the conventional description used in the description of Alisoun is in a satirical vein and it reflects most clearly Chaucer's application of the rhetorical style to stories of low life. Like Emelye, the Miller's heroine Alisoun is a courtly love heroine and the poet makes use of the poetic style to present the dramatic action of the story. "In dealing with the literature of courtly love it is sometimes difficult to distinguish 'style' proper from dramatic action. Courtly action is itself so stylized that under some literary circumstances, as in The Miller's Tale, a few characteristic motions will serve to suggest the whole system." (Muscatine 1969, P. 231). Significantly, the courtliness in The Miller's Tale is innocent, parochial, and harmlessly misplaced. It is important to realise that the major positives of the tale are largely embodied in the heroine and Alisoun may be considered as the touchstone by which other characters in the tale are tested. Two of the finest aspects of the tale are the description of Alisoun and the dramatic revelation of her being. Alisoun is described as young wife of an old man and her identity appears to be that of a creature whose appearance is that of a pet, although it ferociously defends its freedom. "The description that follows of her clothes displays her sexual attractiveness, feminine pride, and healthy neatness. Various contraries are marvellously unified in her: wantonness and innocence, primness and fertility, softness and strength, tenderness and independence, haughtiness and playfulness, repose and spontaneity: till we feel that here is 'Goddess foyson'." (Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 1925, P. 86). Therefore, the description of Alisoun in the tale is an essential aspects of the tale and Chaucer employs the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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