Summary and Critical Commentary
In the General Prologue Chaucer describes the company of twenty-nine pilgrims he meets at the Tabard Inn in a series of portraits arranged roughly in descending social order, which is also roughly a descending moral order. After the military and religious pilgrims come what we might call the bourgeois; then follow two virtuous brothers, the Parson and the Plowman, who love their neighbours as themselves. The Miller’s is the first portrait in the final group; he is found with the Manciple, Reeve, Summoner and Pardoner. The first two, a domestic bursar and an estate manager, are lay stewards; the latter pair, an official of the bishop’s court and a seller of fake indulgences, are ecclesiastical stewards; all four are corrupt parasites.
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