Megan Early

European Literature

Mr. Covington

11/5/03                Canterbury Tales Essay

Canterbury Tales

The character the Knight is the first person analyzed in the General Prologue. This implies clearly that the Host is keen on him. The Knight also has his own tale, which is the first one in “Selected Canterbury Tales,” The Knight’s Tale. Within this tale the Knight himself is personified through Theseus, the duke of Athens. Chaucer is able to keep some qualities of a knight in perspective throughout his description and the Knight’s tale. The qualities include the “Knight’s ideals” (chivalry, honor, generosity, and refinement), notable military career, his mannerisms, and his clothing.

The Knight’s ideals encompass him. To be considered a knight you truly need to have these traits. Being that he is personified through Theseus, you see exactly how “knightly” he is. Webster’s dictionary defines chivalry as “the sum of the ideal qualifications off a knight including courtesy and generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.” A good example of his chivalry is within the first three (3) pages of the novel. Theseus encounters the older women who are mourning over the deaths of their husbands and Creon refuses to bury their bodies. Theseus being not only chivalrous but a “ladies man,” shows pity for the women and agrees to return their husbands bodies to them. He is able to win the hearts of the women by risking his life for the bodies of their dead husbands. This shows his chivalry, he does the right thing and also adds another place to his list of “wins.”  When you think of a knight, you think honor and that is exactly what the knight was an honorable character. When he battled he never did it to kill, there was always a better motive. When he found Palamon and Arcite he doesn’t kill them he heals them and imprisons them.  To have honor though you must also be refined and generous.

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Refined in how he does things and generous with time, and money. The knight has participated in formal duels, which take a lot of manners and refinement.  The refinement of the knight extends off the battle field. This is seen a lot in part three, when Theseus begins preparations for the tournament, by building the stadium. The descriptions of these 3 elaborate temples to the gods, Venus, Diana, and Mars, show his refinement. Everything is perfect and in place. To construct these, a ‘generous’ amount of money is needed. Theseus generously gave his money for not only the temples ...

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