In the medieval era, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a long narrative called The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer was born in 1343 into the family of a wealthy merchant. He didn’t start writing The Canterbury Tales until around 1385, but didn’t finish his planned 120 tales before he died in 1400. Chaucer is known as “the father of english literature”. The story starts out in Autumn and a large group of people meet in a tavern to go on a pilgrimage. While on the pilgrimage, each character tells a story of their own to entertain the other people on the pilgrimage. Every character in Chaucer’s framed narrative represents his view and opinion on lots of different classes in the medieval era. First on his list, is the knight, who represents a perfect character. Although the medieval era often represents corruption and sadness, the knight stands out as a corruption free, perfect person.
A knight in the medieval era had a very strict code of honor. The knight in The Canterbury Tales follows this code perfectly. Before the pilgrimage, the knight doesn’t bother to wear his more expensive clothing because he doesn’t want to make himself look arrogant to others. So it’s pretty reasonable that he would tell his story about the great greek hero, Theseus, who was the king of Athens. The knight has been to many battles and always came out very successful. He is a very experienced, and talented fighter. Through all of the knights challenges, and accomplishments, he has been extremely humble.
The knights physical appearance was not different from most. Although he had great horses, his clothing where ragged, and stained from his armor. Most knights at that time would spend a while perfecting their looks before showing themselves. No matter how strict their expectations where, they were still human. Chaucer portrays the knight differently, his knight is perfect in an abnormal way, he never made any mistakes. The knight has fought in many battles. Most of his fights where crusades, fighting for the church. He participated in a total of 15 crusades. Even though he gained great fame through his success and talent, he always remained humble. Eventually, he started to grow tired of his work and decided he needed to take a vacation. Taking his son with him, he went out to go on a pilgrimage.
Therefore the knight is looked at be Chaucer as the most respectful class in the medieval era. Being the first of the tales in The Canterbury Tales, it’s clear that Chaucer was excited to write about the knight. The knight followed his code of honor perfectly, even through his challenges and the strictness of the rules. The knight exhibits more self control than anyone else. He is an all over perfect person, and is highly looked up to by the other people on the pilgrimage. The knight definitely stands out as a light in the pain and suffering of the medieval era.
- Allen, Janet. “The General Prologue.” Holt McDougal Literature, edited by Janet Allen, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2012, pp. 144-166.
- ‘The Knight and the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales.’ StudyMoose , 31 Mar 2017, https://studymoose.com/the-knight-and-the-prologue-of-the-canterbury-tales-essay