The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
Analysis: Narrator Point of View
Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
Third Person (Limited Omniscient)
Although our narrator prefers for the most part to let the characters' actions, appearance, and dialogue speak for themselves, he does on occasion provide us insight into their minds. For instance, we learn that all Nicholas's "fantasye," or strong desire, is directed toward acquiring a knowledge of fortune-telling, that John is jealous about Alisoun, and that Absolon is "somdeel squaymous / Of fartyng, and of speche daungerous" (229-230). These are hardly deep or complex revelations, but they are the reason we must call this narrator limited omniscient rather than totally objective: he does have some insight that a casual observer wouldn't.