“The Reeve’s Tale” 9/24

Though “The Miller’s Tale” is well-received among the pilgrims, Osewold, the Reeve, takes personal offense to the tale’s foolish carpenter and uses his tale to get revenge on the Miller. Much like an evil villain announcing his plans, Osewold says, “‘This dronke Millere hath ytoold us heer / How that bigyled was a carpenteer, / Peraventure in scorn, for I am oon. / And, by youre leve, I shal hym quite anoon . . .’” (3913-3916). Since the Reeve was once a carpenter, he finds it only fair to tell a tale about a miller. The Reeve’s tale is no less crude than the Miller’s, but it is certainly less humorous. It stinks of bitter old man. Throughout the tale, the Reeve uses the students, John and Aleyne, to assert his dislike for the Miller. Before sleeping with the miller’s daughter, Aleyne says, “‘I counte hym [the miller] nat a flye’” (4192). Personally, I think the Reeve wasted his chance to win over the other pilgrims. Their objective is to tell the most entertaining story. Though the verbal jabs at the Miller are, at times, entertaining, “The Reeve’s Tale” is too heavy with his bitter tone.

1 thought on ““The Reeve’s Tale” 9/24

  1. I completely agree! The Reeve had an excellent opportunity to tell a great tale, and instead decided to use his story to get revenge. His constant jabs at the Miller, which start out a bit entertaining, get a bit old after a while. I also thought that his pettiness made his story that much more predictable and therefore less interesting. I mean, he’s upset with the Miller, so of course the miller in his story is going to get punished/ridiculed for it. I think if the Reeve had taken a bit more of a subtle approach he would have succeeded in not only telling a good tale, but also getting a few jabs in at the Miller.

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