Analysis of the Knight in the Canterbury Tales
The overall purpose of the Canterbury Tales is to show the story of the thirty pilgrims who travel to Canterbury, who are derived from different parts of society. They tell stories to one another to help pass time on the way. Although very famous, these tales were never finished nor revised. Originally written in Middle English during the Medieval times, the Canterbury Tales have been rewritten into the modern English language. The tales were one of the first major literature pieces and Chaucer began them in 1387 all the way until he passed in 1400. My pilgrim is the most respected character in the Canterbury tales which is the Knight. The Knight’s Tale is the first tale told and he is known as a person of high social standings. Throughout the tale, the Knight is significant and worth remembering.
The Knight is considered part of the high society. He is a part of the nobility estate, and he’s characterized by being a man of honor, nobility, and loyalty. He is very polite and calm, and Chaucer also said that he was a man of honor. Chaucer supports this by saying that he had an outstanding reputation. He explains how the knight was at all the wars, including fifteen mortal battles, while fighting for faith. This shows the knight’s bravery and worthiness. He was described as the perfect king.
The Knight wore a tunic that was stained by rust. He wore dark clothes and he didn’t necessarily have a bright appearance, although his horses were good. His hair was curly and described as looking like it had been curled with a curler. He was a twenty year old who wasn’t tall but wasn’t short. He was fast and strong. Chaucer also describes him as “fresh as is the month of May”, where his tunic was short but had long sleeves. The description of Knight reflects his personality. By making it clear that his horses were “dressed” and covered better than he was, it shows that he put others first. It presents how he cares for others. It’s also ironic how he dresses dark because he is known as a bright person. His stained tunic contradicts his personality in a way because he is shown as strong and of high class, while his clothes prove weak and less fortunate.
The description of the Knight makes it seem as if he is calm and gentle. He was a passionate lover, courteous, and willing to serve. He knew how to dance, draw, and write, and that refers back to being joyful and lighthearted. These descriptions of his ethics and respectfulness represent how high his moral standards were. He stood for chivalry and always did the respectful things. This followed him and helped him become respected among the other pilgrims. In a way, his elegance and nobility brought out his morals. He represents the perfect knight of that time.
The Knight travels on fine horses. From the description of his horses, we can assume that he is ranked highly in society. In the prologue, it says that “His horses were good, but he was not gaily dressed.” It seems as if they were taken more care of than he was. They were made sure to be in good condition with having the needs necessary. It was also said that the Knight handsomely rides his horses. You can infer that this implies that his horses are good quality and worth showing off. The Knight is clearly proud of horses and it is apparent that they are taken well care of.
Chaucer thinks very highly of the knight in the prologue. He characterizes him as someone who is truthful and courteous. He also makes him to represent the traits that a good knight should portray. Chaucer makes him seem like a perfect individual. Although there is a gentle satire, he says that the knight “loved chivalry”. Very subtly, he mocks the chivalry aspect that the Knight has because everyone has imperfections, but he also explains how he is worthy with a good reputation. He approves of the Knight and looked at him with high standards.
A modern day counterpart to the Knight would be a soldier. They share many characteristics and similarities. They are both highly respected in society and have good moral standards. They both fight in wars to keep their people safe, and they are both honorable. Another thing is, is that they are both gentle in a sense. Although they are powerful and have the ability to kill, they don’t harm unless it is necessary. While the knight returns from an expedition, this can be compared to soldiers returning to their families from war. The Knight’s overall job is to fight in war for his country, and that is the exact job for modern soldiers today. Overall, it can be agreed that both soldiers and the Knight is loved and doing good for the people with the great things that they do.
The Knight’s Tale is mainly about the story of Palaman and Arcite. The king of Thebes, Theseus, imprisons them in a tower that only has one window. One day while looking out of the window, they spot the queen little sister, Emilye in the garden. They both become head over heels for her and argue about who should get her love in return, but later they stop fighting because they come to terms that being trapped in the tower is holding either one of them back from having a chance. Eventually, a friend of Arcite helps him escape from the tower. He comes into contact with Emilye but doesn’t admit his love for her. Once Palamon escapes many years later, they meet up and arrange a fight. They gave each other a year to create their teams and the winners of the fight will be able to have Emilye. On the day of the fight, Emilye prays for Diana, the Roman goddess of chastity to keep her single but she admits that she will be fine with any outcome. Arcite ends up winning, but due to harsh injuries, he dies. On his deathbed, he grants Palamon to marry Emilye.
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