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Idealism v Realism Chaucer Introduction Thesis Upon many levels the Millers tale is a response to the Knights tale This response allows Chaucer the ability to contrast two different ways of looking at the world ideally and realistically Both tales are shrouded in irony and humor but the underlying differences can still be seen when contrasting three fundamental properties of society love status and destiny This paper shall address these contrasts individually as well as in the context of the whole Canterbury Tales Why the Miller An analysis of the two characters will best set the foundation for further analysis of the two tales The knight is described in the prologue as truly perfect gentle and meek He values chivalry as well as truth honor and freedom He is depicted as somewhat rundown but this is probably Chaucers commenting on the outcome of a persons life who struggled to uphold these mentioned ideals if the knight did live by these ideals then he should not care what he looks like By the description we get from Chaucer in the prologue the knight seems to be an idealist however tragically as his tale later sustains According to the prologue the miller is a churl He is big brawny and could easily be interpreted as a bully With sword and buckler he is one to use his might to get his way accounting nothing for what is just Similarly his dealing is not just and it should be assumed that he is not a just fellow With these descriptions contrasts are readily available The knight belonging to chivalry sees the order of how things should be The miller does not even think along these lines He values his comparative advantage his strength and gets what he can with it We can thus infer that he is a realist he is big and strong and he gets what
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