Essays On Canterbury Tales The Knight

Essays On Canterbury Tales The Knight-33
Then he subjects both of those to a triumphant hetero-erotic chivalric-romance centered in Theseus’s Athens.The Amazons feminize the idea of sworn brotherhood and make it the basis of a political matriarchy.

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The Knight’s awkwardly humble adoption of the persona of plowman, however, prefaces a tale that makes no such social concessions.

It is unabashedly chivalric, complicated, barely in control of its own narrative energies, bristling with rhetorical devices such as (a rhetorical refusal to recount something while actually alluding to it at length—one of the Knight’s more exasperating runaway habits).

The Middle English , for instance, questions whether sworn brotherhood is worth the sacrifices it demands, sacrifices which sometimes include wives and children.

Chaucer tests this social ideal of noble friendship by playing it off on parallel stages of gender and genre: the epic brotherhood of the Thebans and the epic sisterhood of the Amazons.

Brotherhood and sisterhood are crucial social bonds not because they endure or triumph, but because they fail while refusing to die.

In effect, they break and mutate while continuing to exert pressure.

Yet after this seeming victory, Chaucer does not allow the imperatives of brotherhood and sisterhood to vanish.

Theseus is left on the one hand with Palamon and Arcite, imprisoned perpetually, and the enormity of their misery demands redress.

’s beginning, Chaucer highlights the social gap between the Knight’s gentle status and the rest of the pilgrimage.

By joining in this rowdy tale-telling pilgrimage, the Knight is essentially slumming, and his rusty and stained armor, which he does not pause to clean up, performs a kind of class-crossing drag (GP 75-78).


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