Geoffrey Chaucer story The Knight’s Tale, describes the yearning of people wanting to be loved and to have companionship.
The Knight’s Tale is told in third person omniscient point of view, which informs the reader that the narrator knows all the thoughts, actions, and feelings of each character. This helps to better understand how the author is able to go from character to character describing how each one impacts the plot.
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One way you are able to understand this is when both Arcite and Palamon are in prison and both are falling for Emily more and more each day, gaining a deeper attraction to her.
The tone is shown to be epic or monumental, as everything is described to be grand in many ways. From the glorious battle to the three shrines built to how uncut and raw the emotions of each character is portrayed.
In the Knight’s Tale, many of the satires revolve around nobility and courtly love. The first example of satire is in the beginning of the tale when King Theseus stumbles across a couple of women crying because their husbands had been killed and their bodies wouldn’t be returned. Furious, King Theseus conquers Thebes and gets the bodies back for the wives. The women were ecstatic to see their husbands mangled bodies which was very concerning and ironic.
This illustrated to the audience that love is everlasting, just as your vows say til death do us part. Chaucer also satirizes love by describing Palamon and Arcite falling madly in love with Emily at first glance. They fall in love with a young women that they didn’t even know, but in fact Chaucer wasn’t describing love, he was making fun of love at first sight and how blind it actually is. Lastly, Chaucer satirizes romance stories, by overemphasizing the ups and downs and different emotions you feel while being in love. At one point in the tale Palamon and Arcite were happily in love with Emily, then the next day they are depressed because they will never be with Emily, and the next they hated each other for both being in love with her.
Also, the image of Emily changes throughout the tale as the plot alters. We see Emily when she is first introduced in the story as gathering flowers and making garlands. This depicts her innocence and peaceful nature. But soon enough she changed to a symbol of the discouragement Palamon and Arcite felt physically and mentally, since they believe they will never be with her. One example of symbolism used in The Knight’s Tale is the amphitheatre that Theseus built for Palamon and Arcite’s jousting battle . The amphitheatre represents Theseus’ attempt to keep the emotions of both knight’s under control.
The Knight’s Tale is based on the Medieval chivalry, a code of rules knights were required to follow, which has the moral of courtly love. Most knights yearned to love a woman that was of noble status, usually above their social status. Which Palamon and Arcite love for Emily is described as all encompassing. Ultimately, both the knight’s had to fight in a bloody battle to win her hand. But in fact while they were praying to gain her hand in marriage, she was praying to be a virgin for the rest of her life. This illustrates the social rules woman had to go by during the Medieval period, and even a little in today’s society.
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