How does Chaucer’s portrait of Alison add to the interest of the poem?

Chaucer makes his characters look fools to add to the comedy element. Another case of the fool would be Absolon. The same idea of unrequited love comes across, but this time the comedy is not in him not knowing, but because he simply will not give in. He is very persistent in his love for Alison. In one part of the tale he wakes up the carpenter by singing outside. When he tells Alison what her hears she replies “Yis, God wot, John, I heer it everydeel! ” Absolon does not sleep most nights, and spends them trying to woo Alison.

It is quite the comic image of Absolon singing his heart out in the middle of the night, while Alison is asleep and only her husband is listening. Absolon says stupid things, therefore making himself look stupid. He is always crying out “Alas! Alas! ” One of the best comedy moments of the tale is Absolon’s visit to Alison, while she spends the night with Nicholas. He will not leave without a kiss, but instead of kissing her lips, he lands his kiss on her bottom, which she sticks out of the window to trick Absolon.

Making himself seem the fool once again he thinks “he thought it was amiss, for well he wist a woman had no beerd. ” Absolon would have never dreamed something so awful could happen to him and is horrified, but him being squeamish only adds to the humour. If Absolon was a likable character we would not want to see him embarrassed so much, but his arrogance comes across in quotes such as “If she had been a mous and he a cat-he wold hir hent anon. ” There is a certain amount of realism to the tale. The love triangle is quite common in every day life, with more than one man in love with a particular woman.

Affairs are regular occurrences when someone is unhappy with their marriage, and that is exactly the situation with John and Alison. They live in what would be a modern version of a rural environment. No one is particularly rich, and not many are too poor. The tale shows many different characters and the things they get up to, but it all links in the end. Absolon, feeling embarrassed and hurt, gets his revenge on Nicholas, causing Nicholas to cry out for water, causes the Carpenter to think the flood has started. The three men are all in some kind of pain, while Alison gets no blame at all.

The main reason why Alison is such an interesting character is because she is so attractive. This leads to the love triangle, which leads to drama and comedy. As the Miller explains at the beginning, his tale is simply an amusing story, a fabliau. Alison and Nicholas get away with their sin, the tricks on the Carpenter and Absolon, and, though he was avenged, he is left embarrassed and disgusted about the whole scenario nonetheless. The tale is not meant to be heart-warming or moving in anyway, and there is no moral to it.

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