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Daphne Su Maggie Chen Angela Lin. Medieval English Literature and Culture 2002 Spring Prof. Cecilia C. H. Liu. The Knight’s Tale. I. Plot Summary. Theseus’s returning from Amazon Discovery of Arcita and Palamon Courtly love to Emily Escape of the two imprisoned knights

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the knight s tale
Daphne Su

Maggie Chen

Angela Lin

Medieval English Literature and Culture

2002 Spring

Prof. Cecilia C. H. Liu

The Knight’s Tale
i plot summary
I. Plot Summary
  • Theseus’s returning from Amazon
  • Discovery of Arcita and Palamon
  • Courtly love to Emily
  • Escape of the two imprisoned knights
  • The encounter of Arcita and Palamon
  • A just duel between the two knights
  • The final destiny of the knights
ii courtly love
II. Courtly Love
  • Having quarrels

* Arcita: “yours is no more than a religious felling: mine is real love, love of human being.” (p.30)

* Arcita: :”Love is a mighter law, upon my soul, than any made by any mortal rule.” (p.30)

  • Arcita’s modified name -- Philostratus
  • Palamon’s escape
  • Fighting in the wood
  • Competing in the arena
  • Arcita’s contribution to love
iii god s power v s human will
III. God’s Power v.s. Human Will
  • Human being’s will

* praying to gods for fulfilling their wishes

Palamon Venus, praying for winning Emily

Emily Diana, praying for keeping her virginity

Arcita Mars, praying for achieving victory in the duel

slide5
* succeeding in pleading to save livesTheban women  husbands

Perotheus Arcita

Court women Arcita and Palamon

  • God’s Power

* holding power over human being’s destiny

Arcita’s death

* quarreling over the winner

The dispute between Venus and Mars

slide6

Aegeus and TheseusAscribing Arcita’s death to the unchangeable law of human life* Jupiter the King governs human life * Every life has an endAegeus: “This world is but a thoroughfare of woe, And we are pilgrims, traveling to and fro. All earthly troubles have an end in death.” (p.72) Theseus: “In the case of men and women, it’s clear also That at one time or another, they must go; …It can’t be helped, for all go the same way. And so I can affirm all things must die.”(p. 77)

slide7

* Death with good-name is the most honorableTheseus: “The man who dies in his life’s prime and flower While sure of his good name, wins most honour, …And his friend ought to be Gladder of his death when it’s with honour he Yields up his latest breath, than when his name Has faded in the course of age and time, When all his former prowess is forgotten.” (p.77)

iv image of women
IV. Image of Women
  • Emily

* the gazed object

* a prize to men

  • The Theban women & the court women

* pleaders

v questions
V. Questions
  • Who is in the worse situation, Arcita or Palamon?

* Arcita, who is free, but will never see his beloved.

* Palamon, will see his lover everyday, but is imprisoned

  • Does the concept of destiny change in the end of the Knight’s tale? How does it change?