The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
'Thanne make thee redy,' quod she, 'I come anon;'
And unto Nicholas she seyde stille;
'Now hust,' and thou shalt laughen al thy fille.'
Alisoun's humiliation of Absolon is all the more successful because Nicholas, his romantic rival, witnesses it. This scene, like the one in which the townspeople gather around John to laugh at him, emphasizes that humiliation is only possible with an audience.
This Absolon doun sette him on his knees,
and seyde, 'I am a lord at alle degrees;
For after this I hope ther cometh more.
Lemman, thy grace, and swete brid, thyn ore!'
Alisoun is not the only one who's being deceptive in this scene: although Absolon has promised to leave Alisoun alone after she gives him a kiss, he has no intention of doing so. He hopes she will have sex with him, perhaps even intending to force himself on her.
For whan he spak, he was anon bore doun
With hende Nicholas and Alisoun.
They tolden every man that he was wood,
He was agast so of 'Nowelis flood.'
Of all the deceptions the characters engage in, Nicholas and Alisoun's assertion that John is crazy is perhaps the worst. With it, they strip John of his status in the community and rob him of his ability to be heard and believed when he speaks.