Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Chaucers Canterbury Tales - Character Sketch of Chaucers Knight in General Prologue :: Canterbury Tales Essays
A Character Sketch of Chaucers Knight in customary Prologue               Geoffrey Chaucers Canterbury Tales, written in approximately 1385, is a collection of twenty-four stories ostensibly told by various people who are going on a spiritual pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral from London, England. Prior to the actual tales, however, Chaucer offers the reader a glimpse of fourteenth century life by way of what he refers to as a General Prologue.  In this prologue, Chaucer introduces all of the characters who are involved in this imaginary journey and who will tell the tales.  Among the characters included in this introductory section is a gymnastic horse.  Chaucer initially refers to the knight as a most distinguished man (l. 43) and, indeed, his sketch of the knight is highly complimentary.               The knight, Chaucer tells us, possessed/Fine horses, but h e was not gaily dressed (ll. 69-70).  Indeed, the knight is dressed in a common shirt which is stained where his armor had left mark (l. 72). That is, the knight is just shell from service (l. 73) and is in such a hurry to go on his pilgrimage that he has not even paused before beginning it to change his clothes.               The knight has had a very busy life as his fighting career has taken him to a great many places.  He has seen military service in Egypt, Lithuania, Prussia, Russia, Spain, North Africa, and Asia Minor where he was of great value in all eyes (l. 63).  Even though he has had a very successful and busy career, he is extremely humble  Chaucer maintains that he is modest as a maid (l. 65).  Moreover, he has never said a rude thing to anyone in his correct life (cf., ll. 66-7).               Clearly, the knight possesses an outstanding char acter. Chaucer gives to the knight one of the more flattering descriptions in the General Prologue.  The knight can do no wrong  he is an outstanding warrior who has fought for the true faith--according to Chaucer--on three continents.  In the midst of all this contenton, however, the knight remains modest and polite.  The knight is the embodiment of the chivalric code  he is earnest and courteous off the battlefield and is bold and fearless on it.