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The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
Alisoun Timeline and Summary
Alisoun is the third character the narrator describes in "The Miller's Tale." We learn that she is John's much younger wife, and that she's a local beauty. One day, when John has gone away, Nicholas propositions Alisoun. After a brief protest, she accepts, and the two begin an affair. A short time later, Absalom notices Alisoun in the parish church and falls in love with her. Alisoun rejects all of Absolon's attempts to woo her. Alisoun agrees to go along with Nicholas's plan to trick John. When John tells Alisoun about Nicholas's prophecy, she encourages him to make the preparations Nicholas has advised. While her husband is hanging from the rafters of their house, Alisoun has sex with Nicholas in her marital bed. When Absalom appears that night at her window, shortly before dawn, and asks for a kiss, Alisoun humiliates him by presenting her buttocks instead of her lips, causing him to kiss her "hole." Alisoun joins Nicholas in running around the street in a panic when John has fallen from the rafters. With Nicholas, she convinces the townspeople that gather around the scene that John is an idiot.