Prof. G. Steinberg
Choose one of the following areas as the focus of your response paper:
When the Miller steps forward to tell his tale, he says (in the original Middle English), "By armes and by blood and bones, / I can a noble tale for the nones, / With which I wol now quite the Knightes tale" (MilT 17-19). He says he's going to "quite" the Knight's Tale. That word – "quite" – has a number of suggestive meanings. It is related to our modern word "requite" and primarily means "to repay" or "to return." In Modern English, we still talk about unrequited love, for example. But the word "quite" also had connotations in Middle English of rewarding or avenging – of getting back at someone or giving someone what he or she deserves. So, what in the Knight's Tale prompts the Miller's reaction? Why does the Miller feel that the Knight's Tale needs to be "quited"/repaid/rewarded/avenged? Why does the Miller think that he's the right person to "quite" the Knight? He himself admits he's drunk. Why does he put himself forward? Why doesn't he let someone else "quite" the Knight? Or why isn't he willing to let someone else tell the next story? In what specific respects does the Miller's Tale "quite" the Knight's Tale? How is the Miller's Tale like the Knight's Tale? What points of contact (shared themes, plot, lessons) do the tales have? How do they relate to one another? In what respect is the Miller's Tale a response to/repayment of/revenge for the Knight's Tale? How does the world view of the Miller's Tale "quite" the world view in the Knight's Tale? What are the implications of the Miller's Tale in relation to the pressing social issues of Chaucer's day?
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