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The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale

by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale Analysis

Literary Devices in The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Horses were a symbol of sexuality in medieval culture. The horse in "The Reeve's Tale" is especially a symbol of sexuality because he's a stallion, released into a field with a bunch of mares. He e...

Setting

The narrator is very specific about the location of the mill where most of the action takes place in "The Reeve's Tale": it's "at Trumpygtoun, not far from Catebrigge" near a little brook with a br...

Narrator Point of View

The Reeve, the narrator of "The Reeve's Tale," is able to get into just about everyone's head, an ability he uses to great effect at key moments in the tale. When Aleyn and John announce their inte...

Genre

"The Reeve's Tale" starts out trying to be a comedy. All the signs of comedy are there: a miller who regularly cheats his customers, two buddies on a road trip, a night spent all together in close...

Tone

The narrator of "The Reeve's Tale" doesn't spend a lot of time commenting upon the things he's telling us, despite the fact that what we learn about the characters is sometimes shocking. For exampl...

Writing Style

(See the discussion of iambic pentameter in the "Writing Style" section of our guide to the "General Prologue & Frame Story.")An important aspect of the style of "The Reeve's Tale" is Chaucer's att...

What's Up With the Title?

In medieval England, a reeve was someone who managed the estate of a lord, balancing its books and making sure its operations ran smoothly. In the General Prologue, Chaucer tells us that the reeve...

What's Up With the Ending?

The Reeve ends his tale by summarizing the punishments its miller has endured, then explaining these punishments with the proverb "Hym that nar wene wel that yvele doth" ("he who does evil fares ba...

Tough-o-Meter

A little bit shorter and with a plot that's quite a bit simpler than many of those in the other Canterbury Tales, "The Reeve's Tale" is a good "starter tale" for those wanting to try out Chaucer fo...

Plot Analysis

When the manciple of the local university becomes ill, Symkyn, the miller, takes the opportunity to steal even more flour than usual from it, prompting two clerks, John and Aleyn, to journey to the...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Voyage and Return

John and Aleyn travel to the mill after bragging to everyone that they will prevent Symkyn, the miller, from cheating them of corn.Two naïve young clerks think they can easily get the better o...

Three Act Plot Analysis

John and Aleyn travel to the mill to have their corn ground, but fail to prevent Symkyn from cheating them when they must catch their horse instead. The two decide to spend the night at the miller'...

Trivia

"Soler Hall," the name of the school where John and Aleyn are studying, is actually "King's Hall," a college that was started by a society of scholars founded by Edward II. Later on it was merged w...

Steaminess Rating

Aleyn and John have sex with Symkyn's wife and daughter as recompense for their stolen corn, and the narrator isn't shy about telling us all the details of their couplings. In addition to this, man...
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