The Canterbury Tales
The Canterbury Tales is Geoffrey Chaucer's most memorable work. The Canterbury Tales is about twenty-nine pilgrims on a pilgrimage to Canterbury. The entire book consists of the different tales told by different pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. Tales in the book provide clues about the lifestyles of people during the fourteenth century. Chaucer describes each of the characters in great detail. In The Canterbury Tales, each character tells the tale from their point of view. The characters in The Canterbury Tales seem to portray real life characteristics. Some of the characters include the Wife of Bath, the Knight, the Monk, the Squire and the Clerk. The Canterbury Tales is full with themes of nobility, and loyalty.
The pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales come from different ranks and have different occupations. The knight is a very important character in The Canterbury Tales. During the medieval times the knight was considered part of the high society. Chaucer begins the "General Prologue" with the description of the knight because of his position in society. During Chaucer's time, the knight was considered as a man of honor, loyalty and nobility. The knight, Chaucer says: "loved chivalrye, Trouthe and honour, freedom and curteisye." (Norton 82). The knight was involved in all the major wars around the world. He had taken part in the wars fought in Europe, Near East, Prussia, and Russia. The knight was man of honor and courage: "He was a verray, parfit, gentil knight," (Norton 82). The knight had a duty to protect his lord, especially in times of danger.
The next description of the knight comes in "The Wife of Bath's Tale". The Wife of Bath tells "The Wife of Bath's Tale" The Wife of Bath is looking for her sixth husband on this pilgrimage. The knight is not a very smart character as he rapes a maiden. On his wedding day the knight is sad because his wife is very old and ugly. All the opposite characteristics of the knight are shown in the "The Wife of Bath's Tale" compared to the qualities mentioned by Chaucer in "The General Prologue". The knight is of noble birth and held a high place in society. He was known for treating people in a noble and gentile manner. The knight does not treat his wife in a noble and gentile manner. The Wife of Bath tells her husband: "For gentilesse cometh fro God allone. Thanne comth oure verray gentilesse of grace; It was no thing biquethe us with oure place." (Norton 142). The Wife of Bath tells him that gentleness come from god and not from one's social status in life. The knight was supposed to threat his wife in a noble manner. Even though the wife is of lower social status than the knight, she is acting more nobly than the knight.