Courtly Love in The Knight’s Tale and The Wife of Bath’s Tale Essay

Courtly Love in The Knight’s Tale and The Wife of Bath’s Tale Essay

Length: 1343 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

“The noble knight slays the dragon and rescues the fair maiden…and they live happily ever after.” This seemingly cliché finale encompasses all the ideals of courtly love, which began in the Medieval Period and still exists today. While these ideals were prevalent in medieval society, they still existed with much controversy. Geoffrey Chaucer, a poet of the period, comments on courtly love in his work The Canterbury Tales. Through the use of satiric elements and skilled mockery, Chaucer creates a work that not only brought courtly love to the forefront of medieval society but also introduced feministic ideals to the medieval society. At times, Chaucer even makes readers question his beliefs by presenting contrasting elements of principle in The Knight’s Tale and The Wife of Bath’s Tale, both tales told in his profound, multifaceted The Canterbury Tales.
Many tales of courtly love are also tales of chivalry. Chivalry began to develop in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and since then, chivalric literature has existed as one of the main sites of human rights and social criticism (Wollock 266). In chivalric theory, an honorable knight gives respect to others in all matters of action and of speech (267). Chaucer describes the knight in The Canterbury Tales by saying, “He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde / in al his lyf unto no maner wight. / He was verray, parfit gentil knyght” (Chaucer 70-72). While Chaucer’s knight is not a true example of courtly love, for Chaucer assigns the Squire that trait, he does possess the qualities of chivalry, which allow him to present a story of courtly love in his tale.
While courtly love may seem like a fixation of the ancient past, the model courtship, in which two young people fall in love and e...


... middle of paper ...


...index.html>.
McTaggart, Anne1. "What Women Want?." Contagion: Journal Of Violence, Mimesis & Culture 19.(2012): 41-67. Humanities Source. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Olson, Glending. "The Marital Dilemma In The Wife Of Bath's Tale: An Unnoticed Analogue And Its Chaucerian Court Context."English Language Notes 33.(1995): 1-7. Humanities Source. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Pearman, Tory Vandeventer1. "Laying Siege To Female Power: Theseus The "Conqueror" And Hippolita The "Asseged" In Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale." Essays In Medieval Studies 23.1 (2007): 31-40. Humanities Source. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Reisman, Rosemary M. Canfield. "A Feminist Perspective On The Canterbury Tales." Critical Insights: The Canterbury Tales (2010): 45-55. Literary Reference Center. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Wollock, Jennifer G. Rethinking Chivalry and Courtly Love. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2011. Web. 15 Dec. 2013

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Wife of Bath: Illustrating Courtly Love Essay

- In the Middle Ages, when The Canterbury Tales was written, society became captivated by love and the thought of courtly and debonair love was the governing part of all relationships and commanded how love should be conducted. These principles changed literature completely and created a new genre dedicated to brave, valorous knights embarking on noble quests with the intention of some reward, whether that be their life, lover, or any other want. The Canterbury Tales, written in the 14th century by Geoffrey Chaucer, accurately portrays and depicts this type of genre....   [tags: The Wife of Bath Essays]

Strong Essays
960 words (2.7 pages)

Beowolf, The Art of Courtly Love, and The Wife of Bath and Essay

- The term “Hero” has been in our civilization for centuries. On the surface, a hero is a person of honor, integrity, and the will to fight for what he or she believes in. Nearly every story that is told is centered around a character who in one way or another is a hero. They are a person whom the common people are supposed to strive to be; but does this icon truly exist. While the author of Beowulf is still a mystery, the greatness of the character that he or she created will live on forever. Beowulf is the model of what a hero was supposed to be in the middle ages....   [tags: heroes in literature through the ages]

Strong Essays
800 words (2.3 pages)

Essay “The Miller’s Tale” - A Parody of Courtly Love

- During the Middle Ages using the method of courtly love was very common. It was defined as a way of worshiping a woman to get their attention and love in a noble way by doing heroic deeds or just by giving the women gifts. Back then the most known courtly lovers were the knights for being known as very chivalrous and noble men. In “the Miller’s Tale”, the use of courtly love is the complete opposite of what it usually is. The story telling the story, in other words the miller makes a complete parody of courtly love and what it stands for, he makes it seem very vulgar by the way he talks about the characters in a very sexual manner and the deeds that the characters do throughout the story....   [tags: Literary Review]

Strong Essays
1021 words (2.9 pages)

Canterbury Tales Essay: Importance of the Tale of Wife of Bath

- Importance of the Tale of Wife of Bath Some critiques of Wife of Bath make the claim that the Tale is an anti-climax after the robust presentation of the Prologue. Certainly, the prologue of Wife of Bath is robust. With its unstoppable vitality, strong language ("queynte" etc.) and homely, vigorous vocabulary (eg. the references to "barley-brede" and mice), it is the Wife's personality -- certainly an extremely robust one -- that dominates. There is a certain brash energy to the whole of the Prologue, whether because of the forcefulness with which the Wife presents her arguments against the antifeminists (eg....   [tags: Wife of Bath Essays]

Strong Essays
848 words (2.4 pages)

Chaucers Use of Courtly Love Essay

- Chaucers Use of Courtly Love Chaucer's Use of "Courtly Love" Chaucer admired and made use of the medieval "courtly love" romance tradition, although he did not fully "buy into it." The "courtly love" code is based on the woman as the center of attention. The medieval knight suffers greatly for his love, who is often someone else's wife. He will do anything to protect and honor her, remaining faithful at all costs. Adultery and secrecy characterize these relationships. The knight views a woman and experiences true love....   [tags: essays papers]

Strong Essays
853 words (2.4 pages)

Chaucer's Parody To Courtly Love Essay

- Chaucer's Parody To Courtly Love After the Knight tells his story, the Miller insists very rudely to tell his tale. Chaucer uses the aspect of courtly love which is found in the Knights tale and makes a parody of it; He uses the Miller?s character to mock the Knights idea of courtly love. Miller describes the heroine of his story Alison, as a wife of an older man and also an infidel. She?s compared to a ?wezele. sly and cunning. The description of Alison clearly indicates that she is very different from an innocent girl from courtly love stories instead she?s well aware of her husbands jealousy and wears elaborate cloths to show off her beauty....   [tags: English Literature Chaucer Essays Papers]

Strong Essays
553 words (1.6 pages)

Heroism in Beowolf and The Canterbury Tales Essay

- Heroism Heroes are found in every work of art. Whether it is in the television shows we watch, the movies we go to see, the poems and stories we learn about, the books we read, there is always someone or something defined as the hero of that piece. Is the hero always the good guy who defeats the evil. Or is it something more, something more meaningful. Not every story line has a good vs. evil and not every story has a defined l hero, but does that mean there is not heroism in those works. Heroism isn’t a list of actions or characteristics that someone or something could have....   [tags: Act of Courtly Love, Chaucers Wife of Bath]

Strong Essays
1021 words (2.9 pages)

Common Sense, Ethics, and Dogma in The Wife of Bath Essays

- Common Sense, Ethics, and Dogma in The Wife of Bath In his Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer assembles a band of pilgrims who, at the behest of their host, engage in a story-telling contest along their route. The stories told along the way serve a number of purposes, among them to entertain, to instruct, and to enlighten. In addition to the intrinsic value of the tales taken individually, the tales in their telling reveal much about the tellers. The pitting of tales one against another provides a third level of complexity, revealing the interpersonal dynamics of the societal microcosm comprising the diverse group of pilgrims....   [tags: Wife of Bath Essays]

Strong Essays
3341 words (9.5 pages)

Essay on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - Franklin's Tale as Social Romance

- The Franklin's Tale as Social Romance The style in the opening description of Dorigen and Arveragus (729-60) contains a lot of abstract language. It is full of words such as 'worthyness' and 'obeysaunce' which result in a type of characterisation which is itself abstract and idealised. Many of the sentences are neatly balanced and produce a sense of formality. All these abstract and formal features are essential in creating the idealised world of court romance: 'But atte laste she, for his worthyness, And namely for his meke obeysaunce,' (738-9) If one looks at the actual marriage agreement between Dorigen and Averagus it is not only built round the term 'gentil...   [tags: Franklin's Tale]

Strong Essays
1192 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - Knight's Tale

- The Knight's Tale As the Knight begins his tale, which he embarks upon without preamble, we are instantly reminded of the stateliness of the Knight, his overwhelming human dignity and moral world view, which Chaucer described in the general prologue. The Knight is the epitome of a man of the first estate - noble and humble, courageous and gentle, a warrior and a saint. As befits his elevated class, he speaks with elegance and seriousness about the important attitudes and values that any human - and a privileged human in particular - should cherish....   [tags: Chaucer Knight's Tale Essays]

Strong Essays
888 words (2.5 pages)