Knight’s Tales Essay Summary



Knight’s Tales


Knight’s tales were made to convey certain information into the society and especially young people who formed a majority of the audience. In these tales, some themes come out clearly as well as the use of linguistic tools like imagery, symbolism, etc. this essay will look into all these.


In the Knight’s Tale, a theme of romance and love comes out so clearly throughout the literature work. Love has taken the center stage with characters being ready to die in a fight so as to secure love partners. Love is often associated with a show of mighty, with great people like the illustration of the Athens’ noble Duke Theseus (Chaucer). The author of the narrative has made us understand that Duke Theseus had kind of gone to invade Scythia with an objective of winning some ladies for romantic accomplishments. “….has won a wife, Hippolyta…” this, seemingly, was the Duke’s greatest achievement and as such the author uses a rhetoric question to symbolize how the trip had turned out successful for him. He says, “Sounds like a pretty successful trip, right?”

It is not only men who are affected by love or rather who are used to develop a theme of love in this tale since we also see women being involved. For instance, we are told that while on his return journey, the Duke together with his team which consists of the “prey” meets women who are desperately in need of someone to help them gain authority and permit for conducting descent burial for their lovely husbands. This shows great concern for the ladies and above all, a show of love towards their late husbands. The Duke accepts their offer but it looks he does so from an opportunism point of view because upon beating Creon, he gets an opportunity to have other two hostages Arcite and Palamon.


The two hostages have now become prisoners in the hands of Duke Theseus, and while on the tower, they have an opportunity to observe Emily, a sister to Hippolyta who is walking on the garden. Palamon is carried away by the romantic feelings until he cries. Arcite too is emotionally driven by the lady. The two can’t help each other. However, as Arcite commends out, it is helpless to think about Emily since they are prisoners and given their situation, will never have a chance of meeting her.

It is the hunger for love and romance that saw Archet return to work close to Thebes as the manservant of Emily so as to have her around. Romance and love generate conflict between Arcite and Palamon, and a fight is set to begin as a way of trying to win his beautiful lady.

The theme of romance and love is deliberately built to show the audience that several negative consequences arise in love issues.

In these tales, quite a number of styles come out and help in the development of the plot. For instance, there is the use of styles in tales like personification. We see this kind of style in the narrator’s expression of how the cathedrals developed around shrines. He has deliberately used words like “……cathedrals that grew up….” Here, cathedrals are given a trait of a living being, which is to grow. Elsewhere, we are told of gold that “went into” as though it was alive with the ability to go. Another stylistic feature that comes out so well in the tales is contrast. It is the expectations of the audience that the church will portray an outward moral character to the society, by practicing what they preach as a way of enhancing transformation.

However, contrast comes out because we establish that there has been a lot of hypocrisy in the Catholic Church. It is our expectation to see the church being on the front line in exemplifying charity to the needy in the society. However, that does not happen in the fourteenth century Catholic Church. What we see is gathering of wealth towards the church including very precious jewelry like pure gold, at the expense of the poor and suffering society.

It is contrary to our expectations to see a church with people taking bribes and bribing others. We are told that the Friar earned their living by accepting money as consideration for hearing confessions of the saints. There looks to be a great deal of use of rhyme, meant to create a sweet flow of the narrative. For example, when the narrator uses the two words “Summoner and Pardoner”. The last sounds of  “..oner” create an impression of some rhythm into the narrative. All these styles and figurative features are successfully used to develop a plot in the tale.

The Knight’s tale is full of symbolism and imagery. He has deliberately used them to help the audience develop a better understanding of the scenarios. For instance, we are told that when Palamon first saw Emily, he cried out ‘A!’ as if he had been hurt. There is a generation of symbolism meant to help the target audience have a vivid idea of how the Telamon felt. There is an application of imagery in the same statement when the narrator says,  “…cries out ‘A!’ as if he’s been hurt”.  Again, it is said in the story that Emily’s sight made its way into the Palamon’s eye than to his heart like a poison. This forms an image of the sight entered the sight than the heart. It generally develops a symbol picture of what is happening. “……the guys act like they are physically ill.” This too is imagery.

In these tales, we get a clear picture of the stadium or the amphitheater that was built by Theseus through the use of symbolism. The narrator tries to draw a clear picture of how the stadium will look like through symbolism. He tries to create a picture of a football club in our minds and liken it to this.

Knight’s tales are built on an epic tone, indicating high and grand since there is a description of many things in their climax level. All things that surround the plot in this tale appear relatively than normal life.

The plot of this tale starts in a war with Thebes, lord of Athens, and Theseus. The Duke imprisons two hostages she has caught, close to his garden. Both Arcite and Palamon fall in love with Emily, who comes close to the garden. The two starts fighting for Emily and Theseus issues a decree that the two hostages have to fight so as to compete for Emily. Finally, forces of Arcites capture Palamon bringing to termination the Arcite’s favor. Finally, Arcites dies and Palamon is asked by Theseus to marry her.


Both Arcite and Palamon are portrayed as lustful characters. They are so much attracted to Emily until another business stop to create this. In most of these tales, Emily exists like an object whose main purpose is just for desire. We get to know and understand how Emily is like by forming an image of the descriptions given by Palamon and Arcite.

Theseus is build up like a character full of fairness and always desiring to do just. He comes out as a just and wise man.

Knight’s tales are seen to have been told to impart moral lessons to the audience. They are full of figurative linguistic devices through which the narrator builds up his theme. These tales warn the audience about the risks of lustful habits in ten society.

Work cited

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The knight’s tale. Tokyo: Eihōsha, 2002.

Chaucer, Geoffrey, and D L. Purves. The Canterbury Tales. Auckland: The Floating Press, 2012. Internet resource

Rigby, S H. Wisdom, and Chivalry: Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale and Medieval Political Theory. Leiden: Brill, 2009. Print.

Correale, Robert M, and Mary Hamel. Sources and Analogues of the Canterbury Tales. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2005. Print.


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