Love Triangles in The Canterbury Tales

Examines and compares examples of love triangles in Geoffrey Chaucer’s classic work.

This paper discusses The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Specifically, it compares and contrasts the element of a love triangle in several texts – the Knight’s romance, the Miller’s ‘fabliau’ and Franklyn’s ‘lai’ – and discusses how the treatment of each triangle is appropriate/inappropriate for its genre. Each of these triangle tales is unique and fits its genre quite well, which shows Chaucer’s great skill as a storyteller.
The Miller’s Tale is quite representative of the times and of the established tradition of the fabliaux. It uses the characters to create a funny and amusing tale with moral overtones. The Knight might not see it the same way as the Miller, but that is part of the fun. The Miller pokes fun at the Knight’s courtly romance, while amusing the rest of the travelers. He also underlines the differences between the travelers and their outlooks on life. Some are pious, some are pompous, and some are simply everyday people with their own problems and needs. The Miller, repugnant as he is, is still a person, and obviously he is on this journey for his own particular reasons.