• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Triangulation of Love in The Knights Tale

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Jaime Korman 11/3/11 The Triangulation of Love in ?The Knight?s Tale? In ?The Knight?s Tale,? the first story of The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer uses the triangle to investigate the abstract complexity of life?s most powerful emotion?love. Since ?love is law unto itself,? it can be a challenge to examine its erratic nuances critically. Yet Chaucer, through the symbolic geometry of a triangle, masterfully establishes a narrative structure based on the simultaneous balance and tension between the conflicted lovers, Palamon, Arcite and Emily. Palamon and Arcite?s relationship forms the base of the triangle. The two men are inextricably bonded by their origin and fate and dearly love one another, in a brotherly way. Until their paths diverge, Palamon and Arcite are treated as identical characters. Half dead from an attack by Duke Theseus, they are rescued from a pile of bodies, only to be imprisoned in a tower next to Theseus? garden. Their undifferentiated personalities and unquestioned loyalty to one another form the original strong and stable foundation of the triangle. ...read more.

Middle

Just before the inevitable battle, they each choose a different god to hear their prayers. Arcite asks Mars for help to win the battle, while Palamon asks Venus to help him win Emily?s heart. Through their choice in gods, at this time of great turmoil, both friends? motives are exposed. Arcite desires the glory that comes with the victory for Emily?s hand, while in contrast, Palamon simply wants Emily in the spirit of love. These contradicting motives are reinforced later as Arcite triumphantly rides to Theseus, rather than to Emily, his prize. In doing so, he falls on his chest, killing himself. His self-aggrandizing action suggests Arcite is more motivated by the prestige granted to him by Theseus, than by his love for Emily, which the reader was misled to believe in. To emphasize this point, his unorthodox death symbolizes that he died at Venus?s hand?the hand of love. By comparison, the unwavering devotion of Palamon for Emily suggests that true love cannot only endure but triumph in the most hopeless of circumstances. ...read more.

Conclusion

One of the primary themes of "The Knight's Tale" is the seeming randomness of fate. This tale depicts two characters that are fundamentally the same, but come to very different ends. It seems a person's character has very little to do with fate ? and change is something that must be accepted, as it is outside of personal control. Love is the most powerful, yet mysterious human emotion. It is love that governs our relationships and therefore, by extension, governs our society. Furthermore, the abstraction that surrounds love adds to its power. The unknown does not only induce man to fear, but also to desire?love?s greatest avatar. In The Canterbury Tales, and more specifically ?The Knights Tale,? Geoffrey Chaucer embraces the unknown and tackles love head on. Through Palamon, Arcite, and Emily?s intricate love triangle, Chaucer advocates love?s power. The emotional tensions that exist between the lovers are reflected symbolically in the quantitative properties of triangles. In the end, the endurance of the conflicted three-way relationship, holding the characters both together and apart, proves that love is an unwavering force that conquers all. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Geoffrey Chaucer section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Geoffrey Chaucer essays

  1. Quotes from the Miller's Tale

    with hell "his hoote love was coold and al yqueynt"p51 Metaphorically described it is proleptic Nicholas will require water to quench his fire "weep as dooth a child"p51 Shows he is childish "Of gold...I have thee broght a ring"p52 Role of courtly lover in a false way ironic as symbol

  2. English society of Chaucer's time

    What about the importance of pilgrimages, which certainly are important in Chaucer's Tales? You must realize, first of all, that pilgrims were ordinary people, not even necessarily very religious (as you can see from the Prologue), who visited religious shrines as much for a holiday as for the heavenly benefits.

  1. Discuss how the concept of courtly love is represented in the Franklin's tale.

    The idea that courtly love is not actually 'true love' is quite apparent in the Franklin's tale. Indeed, Aurelius seems to want Dorigen for her body mostly, and not for true love. As has already been stated above, Dorigen certainly believes that Aurelius is only after her body for adulterous

  2. The franklins tale raises issues about what it really means to be "noble" ...

    loyal knight to King Arthur or a Tristram the loyal servant, but a mere Pamphilus who was a good lover in his own way but does not compare to one of the literary greats. "Than ever dide Pamphilis for galathee" Courtly love was designed to make a knight even more

  1. The pardoners prologue and Tale show human nature to lack any redeeming virtues ...

    leads to death portrays human nature to lack any redeeming virtues and illustrates people as being greedy, weak and hypocritical. Despite the majority of the prologue proving that human nature lacks any redeeming virtues through the construction of the pardoner and the three rioters, it can be argued that there

  2. Analysis of lines 125 - 300 of The Merchant's Tale

    [249] entails he thinks of himself as strong and sturdy like a tree. His description of his green limbs, 'lymes been as grene', implies he believes he is full of youth and displays his self-delusion and vanity. The sentence foreshadows the reality of what is going to happen to when

  1. How appropriate is it that the character of the Pardoner tells the tale?

    The reader does not want to end up like the Pardoner. This also suggests that he is an appropriate narrator as he is emphasising Chaucer's moral message in the tale. The Pardoner is used to create irony in the tale, and he also magnifies the moral message in the story.

  2. Chaucer creates humour by satirising values in religious and courtly love. To what extent ...

    This not only creates humour in the audience's eyes as we see how dim-witted Januarie really is, but it also creates sympathy for the character as he cannot help how he is portrayed. Another example of the use of satire is the whole incident with Damien, May and Januarie and the adultery issue.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work