We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale

  

by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Foolishness and Folly Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.

Quote #4

And thus she maketh Absolon hire ape,
And al his ernest turneth til a jape
.
(286-287)

Is it really Alisoun who makes Absolon appear foolish? Or is it his own refusal to give up the courtship in the face of continued rejection? There is a way in which Alisoun turns Absolon's earnestness into a joke, in her refusal to take it seriously herself.

Quote #5

. . . Nicholas shal shapen him a whyle
This sely jalous housbond to bigyle
.
(300-301)

"Sely" means stupid, but it also means innocent and harmless, the implication being that the innocent lack guile. It's a perfect word to describe John, whose "sely"-ness derives from a somewhat innocent nature that fails to see the treachery in others.

Quote #6

Ye, blessed be alwey a lewed man
That noght but only his bileeve can!

(352-353)

John's defense of the "lewed" or "unlearned" is rendered foolish by the ease with which he is duped by Nicholas only a few lines later. If John had probed further into Nicholas's story, perhaps he would not have been so easily tricked.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement