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November 17, 2018


#Classic Canterbury Tales The Knights Tale

by N@ncy



  1. The Knight’s tale is the longest.
  2. Firstly I read the summary of the tale (1 hr)
  3. At times the tale felt never ending,
  4. ….but it was worth every minute!
  5. Impressive and very touching.


Characters: Palamon, Arcite, Emily, Duke Theseus

Plot: a love triangle Palamon – Emily – Arcita with backdrop of courtly love


  1. Parts 1-4 end either with reflective question
  2. …(which lover suffers most?) or cliffhangers.
  3. Young knights battling ankle-deep in blood;
  4. proclaiming rules for jousting; final showdown to decide victory.

Strong point: dramatic irony

  1. The reader knows something the characters don’t know.
  2. Disguise: Arcita is disguised as a servant in Duke Theseus’ court
  3. Mixed messages: Arcita (Mars) and Palamon (Venus) pray to these gods
  4. to help them win Emily’s hand in marriage.
  5. Emily prays to Diana:
  6. “That I would be a virgin all my life, and would be neither mistress, no, nor wife”.

Strong point:  mise-en-abyme

  1. Palamon and Arcita fight after praying to the gods.
  2. Theseus stops them.
  3. The gods who help each lover also fight, Mars and Venus.
  4. Jupiter stops them.

Memorable passages:

  1. Descriptions of temples (Mars, Venus, Diana)
  2. Palamon’s prayer to Venus in the language of chivalry
  3. Duke Theseus forgiveness speech to fighting rivals (Palamon, Arcita)
  4. Blow-by-blow description of jousting preparations and battle.


Last thoughts:

  1. This was a good  classic read before I immerse myself into
  2. Mrs. Dalloway by Virgina Woolf.
  3. I’m sure her book will take some time to process!


Read more from Classic, short story
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 17 2018

    I am deeply in love with Chaucer! I wrote so many essays on the characters in the Canterbury tales. Wonderful wonderful tales! My favorite characters are the prioress and the wife of Bath. The account of the pilgrimage was written a loong time ago, but the characters, desires, struggles, and emotions are present-day!
    Thank you for sharing it with us. I have to grab the book and read it again!
    Another fav. of mine? I love Boccaccio and the Decameron. I red it in Italian, not sure how it read in English….Here is a link to the Decameron



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