The Canterbury Tales

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Nicholas Character Analysis

Nicholas is a poor young scholar from Oxford who studies astrology and is much cleverer than the foolish carpenter. Nicholas is lively and lusty and likes to play tricks. He sleeps with Alison directly under the carpenter’s nose, cuckolding him in his own house, and he farts in Absolon’s face.

Nicholas Quotes in The Canterbury Tales

The The Canterbury Tales quotes below are all either spoken by Nicholas or refer to Nicholas. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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The Miller’s Tale Quotes

This Nicholas anon leet fle a fart
As greet as it had been a thonder-dent.

Related Characters: The Miller (speaker), Nicholas

Thus swyved was this carpenteris wyf,
For al his kepyng and his jalousye,
And Absolon hath kist hir nether ye,
And Nicholas is scalded in the towte.
This tale is doon, and God save al the rowte!

Related Characters: The Miller (speaker), The carpenter, Nicholas, Alison, Absolon
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Nicholas Character Timeline in The Canterbury Tales

The timeline below shows where the character Nicholas appears in The Canterbury Tales. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Miller’s Tale
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...there lives a rich old carpenter. Boarding at his house is a poor young scholar, Nicholas, who is very learned in astrology and can also sing well. The carpenter is very... (full context)
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One day, Nicholas begins to flirt with Alison. Nicholas grabs her, and though she cries out at first... (full context)
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...her window, brings her gifts, and showers her with money, but to no avail––Alison loves Nicholas, and Absolon might as well be her pet monkey. (full context)
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One Saturday, the carpenter travels to nearby Osney, and Alison and Nicholas form a plan to spend the night together. Nicholas tells Alison to have a day’s... (full context)
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When the carpenter returns on Sunday, he wonders about Nicholas and asks a servant to check on him. After knocking and receiving no reply, the... (full context)
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The carpenter is convinced that Nicholas has gone mad due to his study of astronomy and declares that this is what... (full context)
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The carpenter and the servant break down Nicholas’s door and find the scholar sitting still as a stone, gazing into the air. The... (full context)
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Nicholas says that he has discovered through his astrology that on the next Monday night, there... (full context)
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After swearing the carpenter to secrecy, Nicholas tells him to get three tubs, instructing him to fill them with enough food to... (full context)
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They will climb into the tubs before nightfall, says Nicholas, and they will not speak a word to each other the entire time. The carpenter... (full context)
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On Monday night, the carpenter, Nicholas, and Alison climb into their tubs and say their prayers. The carpenter falls asleep, and... (full context)
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...pitch-dark, he kisses her “naked ers” that she has stuck out the window. Alison and Nicholas laugh as the furious Absolon rubs his lips with dust and woodchips. (full context)
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Nicholas, who has gotten out of bed to urinate, sticks his rear end out the window.... (full context)
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Though nearly blinded, Absolon strikes Nicholas’s rear with the hot poker and brands the skin. Nicholas cries for help and for... (full context)
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...lies in a swoon, his arm broken. The neighbors rush in to see the spectacle. Nicholas and Alison tell everyone that the carpenter is crazy, and no one will listen to... (full context)
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The Miller sums up the tale: the carpenter’s wife has been “swyved” by Nicholas, despite the carpenter’s jealousy; Absolon has kissed her lower regions; and Nicholas has been scalded... (full context)