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Chaucer's Knight, A Character Sketch. From "Canterbury Tales"

518 words - 2 pages

The Canterbury TalesA Character Sketch of Chaucer's KnightGeoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, written in approximately1385, is a collection of twenty-four stories ostensibly told by variouspeople who are going on a religious pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral fromLondon, England. Prior to the actual tales, however, Chaucer offers thereader a glimpse of fourteenth century life by way of what he refers to asa General Prologue. In this prologue, Chaucer introduces all of thecharacters who are involved in this imaginary journey and who will tell thetales. Among the characters included in this introductory section is aknight. Chaucer initially refers to the knight as 'a most distinguishedman' (l. 43) and, indeed, his sketch of the knight is highly complimentary.The knight, Chaucer tells us, 'possessed/Fine horses, but hewas not gaily dressed' (ll. 69-70). Indeed, the knight is dressed in acommon shirt which is stained 'where his armor had left mark' (l. 72).That is, the knight is 'just home from service' (l. 73) and is in such ahurry to go on his pilgrimage that he has not even paused before beginningit to change his clothes.The knight has had a very busy life as his fighting career hastaken 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 verysuccessful and busy career, he is extremely humble: Chaucer maintains thathe is 'modest as a maid' (l. 65). Moreover, he has never said a rude thingto anyone in his entire life (cf., ll....

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