The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale Rules and Order Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
'Yet has my felawe somwhat for his harm;
He has the milleres doghter in his arm.
He auntred hym, and has his nedes sped,
And I lye as a draf-sak in my bed;
And when this jape is tald another day,
I sal been halde a daf, a cokenay!
I wil arise and auntre it, by my fayth!'
(349 – 354)
Aleyn does not seem as concerned as John to portray his illicit sex as legal redress. Although he refers to the sex John is having as "somwhat for his harm," or compensation for the wrong he's suffered, he goes on to compare having sex with a member of Symkyn's family to "auntring," or venturing, as in gambling.
Thus is the proude millere wel ybete,
And hath ylost the gryndynge of the whete,
And payed for the soper everideel
Of Aleyn and of John, that bette hym weel.
His wyf is swyved, and his doghter als.
(459 – 463)
This passage portrays the punishments the miller has received as Aleyn and John's extraction from him of payment for the supper they ate at his table. Although Aleyn and John paid for this supper with coins, the implication here is that Symkyn ended up re-paying them for it in the end with the bodies of himself, his wife, and daughter.
And therfore this proverbe is seyd ful sooth,
'Hym thar nat wene wel that yvele dooth;'
A gylour shal hymself bigyled be.
(465 – 467)
Here the narrator paints the universe as a just place in which wrongs do not go unpunished. The events in the tale have suggested a more sinister reason than justice or a balanced universe for the punishment of wrongdoing. It implies that wrongdoing is punished because the victims are so pissed off that they commit violent revenge on the wrongdoer.