Absolon is angelic-looking with curly golden hair. Crul was his heer, and as the gold it shoon.” He has many feminine qualities; he loves clothes and is obviously conscious of his appearance, as he must have spent lots of money on clothes with attention to detail. “With poules window corvenon his shoos,” and clothes that were considered fashionable, “Al kirtel of a light waget.” Absolon also dresses very neatly. “Yclad he was ful small and properly.” Absolon is full of love for all women. “Hath in his herte swich a love-longinge,” but is especially taken by Alison, the carpenter’s wife. When he sees her at her visit to the church, he shows this by covering Alison with more incense than anyone else.
Absolon is a courtly lover who will do anything for Alison and shower her with gifts. He sent her piment, meeth, and spiced ale.” He goes around singing underneath windows in the early hours of the morning, “He singeth in his voice gentle and small.” However, there could also be another more active side to Absolon from his otherwise passive behavior. “A dar wel seyn if she hadde been a mous And he a cat, he wolde hertr anon.” Is it possible that Absolon would seize any opportunity to get close to Alison? Absolon works as a parish clerk, but instead of being able to do his job, he is too full of “sexual” feelings. He is too full of lust that he decided not to collect an offering because everyone is too beautiful. Absolon puts fashion and lust before his religious job.
Nicholas is also concerned with his appearance, but only to the extent of impressing people and making them think that he is important and wealthy. He does this by displaying a great collection of books and astrology equipment. His room is attractively decorated with sweet-smelling plants, and he is also quite handsome. Absolon, on the other hand, is a simple parish clerk. Nicholas will not waste an opportunity to show his intelligence and wealth with apparatus and books, while Absolon focuses on his appearance with clothes.
Nicholas also believes that he and Alison will never be caught. He has great confidence in his scheme. The carpenter will never find out because he is more highly educated than Alison’s husband. “A clerk hodde lither biset his while, bat if he koude a carpenter beigile.” This shows the confidence that Nicholas has, whereas Absolon would rather wait and bide his time. He is very forward and persuasive in making sure that Alison will take part in the affair, unlike Absolon who is a courtly lover. Nicholas is forward in his approach, “heeld hire by the haunchebone” “lemman, love me al atones, or I wol dyen. A so God save me.”
Although his methods are shocking, they work. As they both agree to keep the affair a secret, this also shows that Nicholas is scheming and sly. Swoor hir oath.” Although both Absolon and Nicholas are very different in their attitudes towards wooing Alison and their approach to life, they both share a passion and lust for her. However, they are also multi-skilled men. Absolon is not only a parish clerk, but he is also a barber and small-scale surgeon. He can play instruments, dance, and draw up legal papers. “Wel koude he laten blood and clippend shave,” “therto he song som time a loud Quinible.”
Nicholas is a clerk who takes great interest in astrology and can also play musical instruments. He longs for science and has many scientific instruments around his room which are used for counting, calculating, and inspecting the future. He also has an astrolabe” used to measure the degree and altitude of a heavenly body. Nicholas has a good singing voice.