Chapter 10 : The Miller's Use of Costume and His Seduction of the Wife of Bath Ohio State University The Miller's Tale1 is often read as engaging with the Knight and the Reeve, the pilgrims who speak directly before and after the Miller. For Lee Patterson, the tale is a political rejoinder to the Knight, meant to subvert the Knight's insistence on regal supervision and elevate the value of natural law.2 Along the way, the Miller appropriates the Knight's own language, immediately putting himself and the Knight at odds.3 Similarly, other critics see the figure of John the Carpenter as a gullible version of the Reeve. John's eventual humiliation cements an antagonistic relationship between the Reeve and the Miller.4 These interpretations are strong and yet perhaps overly restrictive: Patterson's reading has forced later scholarship into a strict and limited comparison between the Knight and the Miller or the Reeve and the Miller. Instead of focusing on the traditional butts of the Miller's joke, I will explore the relationship between The Miller's Tale and the one pilgrim the Miller unquestionably smuggles into his tale: the Wife of Bath. That Alisoun is reminiscent of the Wife of Bath should come
Essays in Medieval Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Aug 5, 2014
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