Chaucer's Miller's Tale: Beyond Fabliau

Document Type : Research Paper



Fabliaux are originally brief obscene tales that deal with the vices of non-aristocratic people and pokes fun at some trades and guilds. The fourteenth Century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer adopted this popular form from French and Italian literatures and composed some fabliaux in The Canterbury Tales, the best of which is “The Miller’s Tale” and it is perhaps the first fabliau in English language. This tale, like Chaucer’s other fabliaux, is not just an ordinary funny fabliau. It has some deep layers of meaning and is full of classic and Biblical allusions. This tale has a complicated plot, a variety of rich themes, diverse characters and precice characterization. The tale has replaced satire with mere fun, reflecting social contemporary matters in realistic manner, and is almost like a modern short story. It has also an intertextual relation with the preceding tale, “The Knight’s Tale” and is a parody of it.


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