The Canterbury Tales

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The miller’s wife Character Analysis

Unlike Alison, the wife in “The Miller’s Tale”, who is much younger than her husband, the miller’s wife is probably at least as old as the miller, considering they have a twenty-year-old daughter. The miller’s wife enjoys “swyving” (that is, having sex) and doesn’t seem to have any guilt upon sleeping with John.

The miller’s wife Quotes in The Canterbury Tales

The The Canterbury Tales quotes below are all either spoken by The miller’s wife or refer to The miller’s wife. 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:
Social Satire Theme Icon
).
The Reeve’s Tale Quotes

Thus is the proude miller wel ybete,
And hath ylost the gryndynge of the whete,
And payed for the soper everideel
Of Aleyn and of John, that bette hym weel.
His wyf is swyved, and his doghter als.
Low, swich it is a millere to be fals!
And therefore this proverbe is seyd ful sooth,
“Hym thar nat wene wel that yvil dooth.”

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The miller’s wife Character Timeline in The Canterbury Tales

The timeline below shows where the character The miller’s wife appears in The Canterbury Tales. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Reeve’s Tale
Social Satire Theme Icon
...is a bald, pug-nosed miller who lives near Cambridge and swindles all his customers. The miller's wife was raised in nunnery, and stinks with pride at her expensive upbringing. They have a... (full context)
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Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
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...or her respective beds in the same room. The miller, who is drunk, and the miller's wife go to bed with the infant’s cradle at their feet. The miller’s daughter, Aleyn, and... (full context)
Social Satire Theme Icon
Competition Theme Icon
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
...outdone, takes the cradle and puts it at the foot of his own bed. The miller’s wife wakes up to urinate, and when she comes back, she climbs into the bed with... (full context)
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Competition Theme Icon
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
The miller's wife wakes up and tries to help her husband by hitting the clerks with a staff,... (full context)
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Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Friendship and Company Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
...says the Reeve, the proud miller is bested: Aleyn and John have slept with the miller's wife and with his daughter and have swindled the swindler, and the Reeve has gotten his... (full context)