Misogyny In The Miller's Tale

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Middle Ages English literature is notorious for its blatant anti-feminist and misogynistic themes. Women from the fifth to the fifteenth century were often looked at as unintelligent, promiscuous, money hungry creatures who served no little purpose except to please men. From epic poems such a Beowulf to even romantic writers like Shakespeare, authors of this time period are always caught throwing usually unsubtle jabs at women. Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is no exception to this generalization; however, Chaucer’s sexism is somewhat between the lines and can be easily looked over. This itself is an indicator of how ingrained misogyny was in the minds of the general public back in 1350s and how it continues to be in modern times despite…show more content…
“The Miller’s Tale” tells just that story of an old carpenter who married a young and beautiful girl named Alison. While describing Alison, Chaucer does not stray for from her physical attributes. he describer her a “a fair young wife, her body as slender / As any weasel’s, and as soft and tender” (p. 90). Weasels are symbolic for a person who is cunning, stealthy, and deceitful. he then says that Alison is good “for any nobleman to take to bed / Or some good man of yeoman stock to wed.” (p. 90). Alison is drawn out to be a very two dimensional character. She is given no personality traits, has “a lecherous eye” (p. 90), and her only real use is for a man’s pleasure according to Chaucer. Nicholas takes a liking for her and instead of merely talking to her or asking her out “he made a grab and caught her by the quim” (p. 91). He proclaims his lust for her and attempts to kiss her but Alison “managed in time to wrench her head away, / And said, ‘Give over, Nicholas, I say! / No, I won’t kiss you! Stop it! Let me go / Or I shall scream!’ (p. 91). She does not need much convincing after these statements to jump into bed with Nicholas; however, the fact that she was sexually assaulted, did not consent initially, and needed convincing at all all go to show how little respect Nicholas had for her. Alison is not a complex, dynamic character because real life women were looked at as flat and unthinking

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