The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer - THE KNIGHT, THE MILLER, THE REEVE

March 26 2018



  • Theseus - a duke
  • Arcite - a knight
  • Palamon - a knight
  • Emily - Theseus’s sister-in-law

Theseus conquers Scythia and two knights are captured: Arcite and Palamon. The two knights become enamored by Theseus’ sister-in-law, Emily.

Arcite gets freed but exiled, he is inconsolable that he is parted from Emily, while Palamon is inconsolable that he is imprisoned.

Arcite disguises himself of a lowly servant to work for Theseus. Meanwhile, Palamon escapes and plans to attack Theseus with an army.

Palamon and Arcite meet by chance and plan to fight each other over Emily, but Theseus decides that they should have a proper tournament.

Palamon loses but Arcite is badly injured. Upon his death, he commands that Palamon must marry Emily.

Theseus, to unite the lands, eventually agrees and they are married, as was foretold.

“Just as no man ever died, who had not to some extent lived on earth, so no man ever lived in this word who is not at some time destined to die.”



  • Carpenter - a husband
  • Alison - a wife
  • Nicholas - a trickster cleric
  • Absolom - a tricked cleric

A carpenter takes in two lodgers, Nicholas and Absolom. Nicholas and Absolom are both propositioning Alison, the carpenter’s wife. She is interested in Nicholas.

To lie with Alison, Nicholas tells the carpenter that a new flood will come and he must fashion three barrels, one for each of them and suspend them from the ceiling. While the carpenter sleeps in his barrel, Alison and Nicholas get it on.

Absolom wants in on the action and asks Alison for a kiss. Instead of her mouth, she presents her arse and Absolom is shamed.

For his revenge, Absolom acquires a hot poker and asks again for a kiss.

This time, Nicholas presents his behind and farts in Absolom’s face. Absolom strikes Nicholas’s backside and Nicholas cries for water. This wakes the carpenter, he cuts the rope of his barrel and falls to the ground, unconscious.

The neighbours all come and laugh.

And so, the carpenter was made a cuckhold, Absolom kissed Alison’s arse and Nicholas was scorched.

“Men can die of imagination, so deep may impressions be made upon them.”



  • Simkin - a miller
  • Wife - of the miller
  • Daughter - of the miller
  • John - a student
  • Allan - a student

John and Allan are not happy with the shady business Simkin the miller is conducting. They try to trick the miller into revealing his misconduct but fail. They also lost their horse and need food and lodging.

After a night of drunkeness, all occupants of the miller’s house go to bed.

Allan decides he deserves sex with Simkin’s daughter and promptly rapes her. John now jealous, takes a cradle (with a baby) and positions it in front of his own bed. When Simkin’s wife awakes at night to relieve herself, she searches for the cradle to find her bed and gets in it. John rapes her.

Now worried, still in the dark, Allan gets up to get in bed with John. When he feels the cradle, he assumes it to be the wrong bed and tries the next one. Thinking he is lying with John, he tells him of his exploits with the daughter.

Simkin awakes and a fight ensues but in the dark the miller’s wife, confused, beats at the first person. This person was Simkin and he is now unconcious.

Allan and John leave, having won it all.

“He who does evil must not expect good.”