The Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer around 1386, is a
collection of tales told by pilgrims on a religious pilgrimage. Three of these
tales; "The Knight's Tale", "The Wife of Bath's Tale", and "The Franklin's Tale",
involve different kinds of love and different love relationships. Some of the
loves are based on nobility, some are forced and some are based on mutual
respect for each partner. My idea of love is one that combines aspects from each
of the tales told in The Canterbury Tales.
In "The Knights Tale", the love between the two knights and Emily is
intensely powerful. The love that Palomon and Arcite feel towards Emily is so
strong that the two knights feel that it is worth more than life. At one point
Palomon says to Arcite, " Though I have no weapon here . . . either you shall
die or you shall not love Emily." The love that Palomon feels for Emily is so
overwhelming that he is willing to take on an armed man, in mortal combat, just
for the love of a woman. Perhaps he feels that without her he will surely die,
so why not die trying to win her.
The ironic fact about the relationship between the two knights and Emily
is that Emily does not wish to marry either of the knights. she expresses this
in a prayer to Diana, the goddess of chaste, " Well you know that I desire to be
a maiden all my life; I never want to be either a beloved or a wife." This is so
ironic because Arcite and Palomon are about to kill each other for her love and
she doesn't want to beloved by either of them. She enjoys the thrills of maiden
... middle of paper ...
... Wife of Bath's Tale" the knight is forced into a love relationship, which
I feel could only lead to an unfulfilling relationship. Also in " The Knight's
Tale ", Arcite and Palomon are in love with a woman to whom they have never even
spoken to. This is hardly the basis for a strong and lasting relationship.
Bowden, Muriel. A Reader's Guide to Geoffrey Chaucer. New York:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1964.
Howard, Edwin J. Geoffrey Chaucer. New York: Twayne Publishers,
Justman, Stewart. "Love in The Canterbury Tales."
Modern Critical Views on Geoffrey Chaucer. Ed. Harold
Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1995.
Patterson, Lee. Chaucer and the Subject of History. Wisconsin:
The University of Wisconsin Press, 1991
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