In considering the tale of a cuckold, Geoffrey Chaucer's Miller's Tale, and others, in the light of Kleiman analysis, there is a major distinction to be made. Within the character of the cuckold himself, one can observe an extremely primitive level of development, characterised by splitting, denial, reaction formation, and envy. As often as not, the cuckold is one who can barely tolerate the taking-in of information; that is, he is in an infantile state that appears to be prior to the paranoid-schizoid position, in which there is at least the defensive splitting of the self to cope with information, welcome and unwelcome, from the outside world. This primitive state of the cuckold as a character, however, contrasts sharply with what one can construe as the meaning of his portrayal in literature, and it is this meaning that this chapter explores first, before turning to examples of cuckolds in Chaucer and Giovanni Boccaccio.
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