ENG 202 - The Knight's Tale (Sept. 14-19)

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Published on 28 Sep 2011
School
U of S
Department
English
Course
ENG 202
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09.14.2011.01 – The Knight’s Tale
Courtly Love
woman is typically portrayed as unattainable
courtly love is a literary convention
critics have suggested that it didn’t actually reflect real life
in real life, the woman was probably married for political reasons
the notion of romantic love is a descendant of courtly love conventions
gives the lady some say in what is occurring
has the right to say no or ignore the man
this is not typical of real life at the time
possessive, jealous passion over which he has no control
Imagery
affliction of the lover
desire to be valorous and earn the respect of the lady
lady is often unattainable
may be the wife of the speaker’s lord
Chivalry
loyalty, honour, respect, etc
did this ever exist in reality, or only in literature?
knight is devoted to his leader, loyal to companions, and determined to
perform memorable deeds
The Knight’s Tale
Courtly Love
the men are struck with extreme love upon a mere glance of
Emily, without ever having spoken to her
Theseus understands this love
“I likewise have suffered in love”
suggests that one eventually grows out of this
infatuation/love/passion
Chivalry
Palamon and Arcite have a strong sense of fair play
fight between the two – Palamon does not have a weapon,
so it would be unfair to fight him to the death at that point
in time
Reading Response Questions
Who is the Protagonist?
Palamon and Arcite
events concern them
Theseus is the frame
we identify with them
Emily
story revolves around her
puts events in motion
Theseus
without him, Palamon and Arcite would not have
survived
he also stopped a fight to the death between the
two, and allowed for a marriage to take place
Palamon
because he ultimately ends up with Emily
first to fall in love with Emily
Diana promises Emily that the one that cares for
her more will be the one to marry her
made his prayer for love, while Arcite made his for
victory
is more resigned to fate, which is what the Knight
seems to be portraying
decides to take action upon escaping prison, while
Arcite mopes for three years
are we inclined to see a protagonist as someone to whom
things simply happen, or as someone who makes things
happen?
we see a protagonist as someone who grows as a
character
often through choices
someone who develops
who develops in this tale?
Palamon develops into the courtly love
character
Emily goes from not wanting marriage to
wanting the man who desires her the most to
being devoted to Palamon
Emily
doesn’t want to be a wife
wants to be a virgin perpetually
does not ever want to undergo childbirth
however, she is in deep mourning when Arcite dies
human choice vs. fate
Palamon and Arcite as Protagonists
Meaning of Love
lustful
like a fever
loss of rationality
infatuation/obsession
inescapable/all encompassing
melancholy/moody
addiction
imprisoning
aesthetic
if this is a story about love, it is a love that is closer to an
addiction or disease than what we are used to seeing
it is not a desirable or inspirational love
why is the tale being told?
is the knight telling it as a cautionary tale to his son, the
squire and lusty lover?
shows courtly love in some negativity
Emily becomes a prize for the men to win
Emily as a “heaven” to be attained
Theseus as Protagonist
makes choices
helps the women on the road
a knightly act
does so through warfare
a knightly method
acts on behalf of justice and morality
chooses not to kill Palamon and Arcite
chose to imprison them for life instead
allows Arcite to leave on the request of Pirithous
honouring a vow of friendship
contrast to Palamon and Arcite
chooses not to kill them in the glade
sets up a tournament instead
sets up rules to protect life
builds the amphitheatre and the temples
hosts each of the men that Palamon and Arcite
bring according to their rank
gives Arcite a state funeral
provides appropriate hospitality for the important guests
decides when the mourning period for Arcite should end
arranges marriage between Emily and Palamon
an ideal knight that Palamon and Arcite should be emulating
makes many decisions for the good of the state
proves himself to be an adequate statesman
causes us to focus on the role of the knight
problems with Theseus as protagonist:
doesn’t seem to change throughout the story
doesn’t give a reason for the long, philosophical speeches
about fate, etc

Document Summary

09. 14. 2011. 01 the knight"s tale: courtly love. Critics have suggested that it didn"t actually reflect real life. In real life, the woman was probably married for political reasons. The notion of romantic love is a descendant of courtly love conventions. Gives the lady some say in what is occurring. Has the right to say no or ignore the man. This is not typical of real life at the time. Possessive, jealous passion over which he has no control. Desire to be valorous and earn the respect of the lady. Lady is often unattainable: may be the wife of the speaker"s lord, chivalry. Knight is devoted to his leader, loyal to companions, and determined to perform memorable deeds: the knight"s tale. The men are struck with extreme love upon a mere glance of. I likewise have suffered in love suggests that one eventually grows out of this infatuation/love/passion.