Chaucer wrote a portrait of the Miller in the general prologue of the Canterbury tales. In this, the Miller is described as an extremely well built man with broad shoulders and large muscles. He has red hair, with a large beard and a wart upon his nose. Chaucer uses colour symbolism in the portrait; he compares the Miller with the colour red to portray the image that he is an aggressive man. He also uses animal symbolism by comparing the Miller to animals such as a pig, this portrays the image that the Miller is dirty and lazy. Chaucer also tells us that the Miller plays the bagpipes.
At the time that the Canterbury tales was wrote bagpipes were associated with hell and evil. In the Millers prologue, Chaucer uses various techniques to present the Miller to the reader. Chaucer does not just describe to the reader what the Miller is like; he lets the Miller speak for himself. “By Armes, and by blood and bones”. This is the first line that the Miller says in which he is cursing. Chaucer has used this technique to make the reader have an instant dislike for the Miller and to realise immediately that he is not the nicest character out of the pilgrims.
“But in Pilates, vois he gan to crie” This metaphor compares the Miller to Pontius Pilate who put Jesus to his death. This automatically makes the reader realise that the Miller really is a vulgar man if he is being compared to someone such as Pontius Pilate. In addition, in the time that the play was wrote Pilate was a famous character in plays who was presented as an evil and violent figure, this makes the reader think that the Miller must also be evil and violent. Throughout the general prologue, we get the idea that the Miller is irresponsible, as Chaucer has chosen to repeatedly remind the reader that the Miller is a drunk.
“I am dronke, I knowe it by my soun;”. It is also inferred that the Miller is insensitive “Bothe of a carpenter and of his wyf,”. This reference to the text supports my point that the Miller is insensitive as he deliberately made the main character of his story a carpenter to get at the Reeve. This also shows us that the Miller is provocative. Chaucer also portrays the Miller as a misogynist. “Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold,” This quote shows us that the Miller is a hater or women as it is saying that if you don’t have a wife you wont be betrayed.