The interruptions by the miller and the wife of Bath, perfectly show how they both lose track of their themes during their prologues or tales. And it’s logical to believe that such different figures would have different reasons for behaving so. Truth is, it is quite obvious that whereas the wife of Bath still manages to present her points when she wanders off, the miller doesn’t bother it at all. So it seems, the wife of Bath’s interruptions possess richer personalities and meanings, which the miller’s interruptions fail to achieve.
To begin with, we see the miller drunkenly starts his tale of a typical “farmer’s daughter story,” with which we along with the other pilgrims are too familiar. ...view middle of the document...
As a result, we can say he doesn’t convey any specific idea behind the interruption, for he is simply intoxicated in his own fantasy of the girl’s beauty.
On the other hand, I do think as we can see the miller as a representative of normal men in the Middle Age, we realize that the miller’s fantasy could convey the general idea of what a man in the Middle Age would expect from his ideal girl. Nevertheless, the miller’s interruption here still fails to present any significant ideas of his. He remains as a fierce misogynist through his prologue and tale.
Conversely, the wife of Bath is a very forceful, vigorous and complicated figure. While her mind has a tendency to wander, every interruption she makes succeeds in telling us something. For example, in her prologue, she highlights the impression of her huge passion for sexual intercourse on our mind by telling us how she enjoyed her youth in sexual pleasure as she wanders off from telling us about her fourth husband:
Now I will speak about my fourth husband. / My fourth husband was a libertine; / That is to say, he kept a concubine; / And I was young, and passionate, and gay, / Stubborn and strong, and merry as a magpie. / How I would dance to the harp’s tunable / Music, and sing like any nightingale, / … / And I recall my youth and gaiety, / It warms the very cockles of my heart. /And to this day it does my spirit good / To think that in my time I’ve had my fling. / … / But all the same I mean to have my fun. / And now I’ll tell about my fourth husband. (230-231)
What’s more, as we read on, we listen to her talking about making up a suggestive dream to lead her fifth-husband-to-be to believe she loves him, and about how all these doings are following her mother’s teachings, and then she...