Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Lines 1-124

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 1-124

Lines 1-78

  • See "The Miller's Prologue" in Shmoop's guide to The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story.

Lines 79-112

  • A rich carpenter named John lives in Oxford and takes lodgers into his home.
  • A poor but clever scholar named Nicholas boards with him.
  • The narrator gives us an extensive description of Nicholas's character. (For more on this portrait, see the "Character Analysis" section.)

Lines 113-124

  • John has married an eighteen-year-old woman named Alisoun.
  • He is apparently jealous about her, and keeps her on a tight leash.
  • The reason he is so jealous is that Alisoun is much younger than him, and he fears being made a "cuckold" by Alisoun cheating on him.
  • John has never read the proverb by the ancient Greek philosopher Cato, which says that men should marry a woman similar to them in situation and age because youth and the elderly don't mix well.
  • Since he has already married Alisoun, though, John must endure his situation.