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Quotes

Quote #1

Thi clerk was cleped hende Ncholas.
Of derne love he coude and of solas
.
(91-92)

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
.
(117-118)

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
.
(165-167)

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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