Chaucer claims to place the Knight's Tale just after the General Prologue by chance, the drawing of lots. The Knight draws the short straw, and all are glad for it. The appropriateness of his lengthy tale to follow is clear on some levels, and barely perceptible on others. I intend to launch my investigation of the Knight's Tale with a scrutiny of these three statements, and perhaps we shall find an interesting conclusion in this, albeit a disputable one.
The honorable Host, Harry Bailey, begins this famous day of pilgrimage by calling everyone together to draw lots, "He which that hath the shorteste shal beginne." (838) He calls the Knight to draw first, presumably as a gesture of respect, as he refers to the Knight as master and lord. Harry continues to speak for a short moment, as we have the visual image of the Knight stepping up to claim his straw. The host continues to call up two more pilgrims, but quickly decides that everyone might as well draw in a free-for-all. And surprise! The Knight finds himself holding the short cut. Is it possible that Harry managed to give the Knight the short straw intentionally? "Now draweth cut," says he, "for that is myn accord" (840). A close eye may suggest some punning going on in that line: Now draw the cut (short) straw, for it is my wish. The words "cord" and "accord" were both used in Middle English, so we may be able to find some double meaning there as well. If indeed Harry wishes to give the Knight the "cord," there are several interesting cases to think on: a) the cord is simply the short straw, b) the cord is the hangman's rope, or c) the cord is a unit of wood cut for fuel. The hangman's rope would make for subtle sarcasm, but...
... middle of paper ...
... immediate effects on the Miller, who cares not a bit for courtesy or order but only reckless lust. Hence, the Miller follows with a tale that Palamon could have appreciated, had he not known the ways of chivalry, but only those of lechery.
Works Cited and Consulted
Benson, Larry D., ed. The Riverside Chaucer. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. The Norton Anthologyof English Literature. Seventh Edition. Two Volumes. Ed. M. H. Abrams. NewYork: Norton, 2000.
Cooper, Helen. The Structure of The Canterbury Tales. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1983.
Modern Critical Views: Geoffrey Chaucer, Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985.
Spearing, A.C. Chaucer: The Knight's Tale. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995.
Williams, David. The Canterbury Tales, A Literary Pilgrimage. Boston:
Twayne Publishers, 1987.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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]
888 words (2.5 pages)
- Idealism in the Knight's Tale Despite its glorified accounts of the chivalrous lives of gentlemen, the Knight¹s Tale proves to be more than a tragically romantic saga with a happy ending. For beneath this guise lies an exploration into the trifling world of the day¹s aristocratic class. Here, where physical substance is superseded by appearance, reality gives way to disillusioned canon and emotion is sacrificed for honor. Naïve idealism emerges as the dominant characteristic of the seemingly flawless knight and we, as the reader, are asked to discern the effect of this fanciful quality on the story as a whole.... [tags: Chaucer Knight's Tale Essays]
1671 words (4.8 pages)
- The Knight's Tale in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales The Knight's Tale is one of the twenty-two completed Canterbury Tales by the celebrated English Writer Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400). The Canterbury Tales are a collection of 120 stories that Chaucer began writing in 1386, and planned to complete during his lifetime. Each of the tales features a large range of characters in a great variety of medieval plots, along with interesting dramatic interaction. The Knight's Tale itself was completed sometime between 1386 and 1400.... [tags: Knight Tale Canterbury Tales Chaucer Essays]
741 words (2.1 pages)
- Different Perspectives of Chivalry by the Knight and the Squire in Canterbury Tales In the medieval period that is described by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, chivalry was perhaps the most recognized quality of a true Christian gentleman. This quality is explored in Chaucer's two characters of the warrior class, the Knight and the Squire. The Squire is in fact the son of the Knight; both ride gallantly and have the air of true gentleman warriors. However, the two are very dissimilar despite their appearances.... [tags: Chaucer Knight's Tale Essays]
1470 words (4.2 pages)
- Women and Love In Chaucer Chaucer's opinion of women and his views on love are very prominently featured in his poetry. Focusing on women, one must first examine the popular views concerning women during Chaucer's time. Arlyn Diamond writes of Chaucer that, ". . . he accepts uneasily the medieval view of women as either better or worse than men, but never quite the same." (Green 3) This is evident in Chaucer's portrayal of women in such poems as "The Wife of Bath" and "The Clerk's Tale" which assault the reader with antithetical views of women.... [tags: Chaucer Poetry Poem Essays]
2000 words (5.7 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Canterbury Tales, Chaucer, knights, heroes,]
1075 words (3.1 pages)
- One of the striking differences between the Knyghts Tale and the Millers Tale (which is supposed to "quit(e)" the Knyghts Tale) is that of clothing (the former tale) and lack of clothing (in the latter). Upon an inspection of the General Prologue's description of the Knyght, I found that clothing is a very signifcant part of the Knyght's Tale. Chaucer's decription of him may forshadow (or, since Chaucer wrote the tales after they were told, color his perceptions of the Knyght) the importance of clothing in the Knyght's Tale.... [tags: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales]
2552 words (7.3 pages)
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, written by an anonymous author some time during the fourteenth century, reflects many of the religious, political and social aspects illustrated in other literary works of the time. The author, a contemporary of Chaucer, lived during a time when gallantry, loyalty and honor defined a true man. During this period, Christianity was prevalent, and inherent human weakness was commonly accepted. The author begins the poem with the mention of the siege and destruction of Troy, said to be a result of the traitorous acts of the "knight that had knotted the nets of deceit" (Norton 3), Aeneas.... [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Literature Essa]
1079 words (3.1 pages)
- Summary and Analysis of The Pardoner's Tale (The Canterbury Tales) Prologue to the Pardoner's Tale: The Host thinks that the cause of Virginia's death in the previous tale was her beauty. To counter the sadness of the tale, the Host suggests that the Pardoner tell a lighter tale. The Pardoner delays, for he wants to finish his meal, but says that he shall tell a moral tale. He says that he will tell a tale with this moral: the love of money is the root of all evil. He claims that during his sermons he shows useless trifles that he passes off as saints' relics.... [tags: Canterbury Tales The Pardoner's Tale Essays]
1337 words (3.8 pages)
- The Importance of Telling in Knight’s Tale and Miller’s Tale In the Canterbury Tales, the Knight begins the tale-telling. Although straws were picked, and the order left to "aventure," or "cas," Harry Bailey seems to have pushed fate. The Knight represents the highest caste in the social hierarchy of the fourteenth century, those who rule, those who pray, and those who work. Assuming that the worldly knight would tell the most entertaining and understandable story (that would shorten their pilgrimage to St.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
918 words (2.6 pages)
- Comparing Clothing in Knight's Tale and the Miller's Tale
- Corruption in the Church and Society Reflected in The Canterbury Tales
- Search for the American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
- Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - Chaunticleer
- A Comaprison of the Miller's Tale and Merchant's Tale
- Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - The Character of the Reeve