The Reeve's Tale
Third story of The Canterbury Tales
Who is the Reeve?
The Reeve's tale revolves around a Miller who is quite sneaky and dishonest, and steals corn and meal that is brought to his mill to be grinded. On one of the days, the miller is able to steal pervasively from the manciple of the college, due to his illness. Shortly after, John and Alan (two students at the college) hear of this theft and make plans to stop the miller from stealing in the future. They voluntarily bring sacks of corn to the miller, and tell him they are in charge of watching the work be done. But being the sneaky and dishonest man that he is, the miller lets the students horses go free, causing them to leave the mill and chase after them and allowing the miller to steal flour once again.
After retrieving the horses, the boys return and ask the miller if they can stay the night. Due to the darkness, the miller agrees. The miller has a wife, daughter, and infant son, and all six of them share one room for the night. Craving revenge for the countless acts of theft, Alan exclaims that he is going to sleep with the miller's daughter, while John ends up sleeping with the wife after she mistakes his bed for her own. Once the night is over, Alan gets into the miller's bed mistaking it for John's, and tells him how he had I three times with the daughter. The miller than angrily gets up, but the wife beats him down thinking he was one of the students. The boys than grab all of the food that the miller stole and quickly flea.
What does this reveal about the narrator?
1. Blackguard- Someone who behaves in a dishonorable way.
2. Palfrey- A docile horse used for riding.
3. Plumbed- Experience or explore fully.
4. Peck- A measure or capacity for dry goods.
5. Mote- A tiny piece of substance.
1. To what extent does the Reeve's tale represent and describe his "choleric" trait as stated in the prologue?
2. How does the shift in tone between the Miller's tale and the Reeve's tale reflect and describe their two opposite personalities?