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The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Sex Quotes

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

Quote #1

Thi clerk was cleped hende Ncholas.
Of derne love he coude and of solas

One of Nicholas's many talents is conducting illicit love affairs. The word "solas" (solace) refers to the cure for love-sickness: sex. This way of talking about love and sex comes from the medieval courtly tradition in which young bachelors complained to their unobtainable lady-loves of horrible suffering, which could only be relieved by the woman's sexual favors.

Quote #2

For she was wilde and yong, and he was old
And demed himself ben lyk a cokewold

John is terrified that Alisoun will cheat on him, thus making him into a "cokewold" (cuckold, a man cheated on by his wife). It was a common belief at this time that an older husband could not possibly keep up sexually with a young wife, and that therefore she would find her satisfaction elsewhere.

Quote #3

She was a prymerole, a piggesnye,
For any lord to leggen in his bedde,
Or yet for any good yeman to wedde

This is an example of "The Miller's Tale" as a parody of the romance genre, which praised women in much higher terms. The women in romance are worthy of the gods; Alisoun is worthy of being a lord's concubine.

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