The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
Character Role Analysis
Aleyn and John
Although the miller and his family are the first people the tale introduces, we aren't encouraged to sympathize with them, because we immediately learn that the miller is a dishonest thief. Despite Aleyn and John's headstrong natures, they at least have right on their side when they propose to travel to the mill to prevent the miller from cheating the school again. As the tale progresses, however, it becomes difficult to "root for" any of the characters: Aleyn and John sexually assault Symkyn's wife and daughter, after all. But since it's their goal or "quest" that drives the whole story, it's fair to say that they're our protagonists.