Courtly Love in Chaucer and Marie de France In his The Miller's Tale Chaucer presents a side of the courtly love tradition never seen before. His characters are average middle class workers rather than elite nobility. There is an interesting comparison between the Miller's characters and those in two of Marie de France's lais that share very close plot lines. Instead of being idealized Chaucer's characters are gritty. Instead of being involved in "courtly love"
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lady should strive for. Chaucer's lovers are dirty, animal like and raucous. The Miller's Tale is a parody of the courtly love tradition. But the fact that Chaucer uses the lower classes as his characters makes his story even more absurd. Instead of being wise they are foolish. Sources Used Chaucer, Geoffrey The Canterbury Tales trans. Kent & Constance Hieatt; Bantam 1964 de France, Marie The Lais of Marie de France trans. Glyn Burgess & Keith Busby; Penguin 1986