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Essay on The Heroic and Honorable Knight in "The Canterbury Tales"

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Knights are one of the most mistaken figures of the medieval era due to fairytales and over exaggerated fiction novels. When medieval knights roamed the earth, it was known that they were only human and, like humans, had faults. These knights did not always live up to the standards designated by society. However, in The Canterbury Tales, the knight is revealed as a character that would now be considered a knight in shining armor, a perfect role model in how he acts and what he does. Modern day people see them as chivalrous figures instead of their actual role as mounted cavalry soldiers. As time passes, the idea of what a knight is changes from a simple cavalry soldier to a specific type of behavior.
Historically, knights were not very powerful. Although they had a model image in society, knights lived to serve their lord. A knight’s career is chosen for him, his wife is chosen for him and the land that his family lives on could be taken from him without a moment’s notice. Each of the knight's actions was for the glory and honor of the lord (not lord meaning God but lord meaning the lord of the land). Even though knights were essentially servants, they put forth great effort in their servitude through battle, guarding castles, entering tournaments, and upholding the ideals of his lord through brute force on anyone that dared oppose his master. In order to be a knight, he needed to have strength, good morals, skills and also:
The ability to wield a sword or lance from horseback was a special skill that took practice and wherewithal, and it also took practice with comrades to learn to work together as a team. A lord would employ knights and give them the time and equipment they needed to practice; in return, they served their lo...


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...til one sight of a girl separates them completely and leads to one of the brother’s death. One main point that needs to be addressed is the common element of a knight’s tale where the knight saves a damsel in distress. This is close to happening but Chaucer adds a twist at the end so that the knight doesn’t get the girl and there is no happy ending as do most knight tales.
There are many definitions of what a knight is. Scholars maintained that knights were nothing but mere servants loyal to their lord. Novels and literary works make the assumption that knights are more than just servants; knights are flawless warriors used to set guidelines on how we behave. It is and always will be debated about the characteristics of a knight but if there is one thing to understand from these knights it is that they were hard workers and earned whatever title they have today.



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