Arcite And Palamon In The Knight's Tale

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Arcite and Palamon, friends and foes, both fighting for the hand of the same woman. Love, true love, is that not one of the most popular themes in any type of media? The most common portrayal of love is a forbidden love, but after that is rivaled love. Two people fighting for the love of a single person. In “The Knight’s Tale,” Chaucer gives us this exact same theme. Arcite and Palamon, cousins, both attempting to earn the hand of the beautiful Emily. When looking closer at them, we can see some distinct differences between them but also some concealed resemblances. The most major differences are the way the view Emily and who they turn to when they need help. Moreover, the most significant similarity is the way they are both honorable and…show more content…
In their first fight, Palamon had just escaped and Arcite had achieved a stable position in Emily’s household. Arcite was in better health and more fit than Palamon thus giving him an advantage. Arcite could have killed him but instead swore to Palamon that “I shall not fail to be found here, on my faith as a knight, and to bring quite enough armor for you.” (Chaucer 753) They both returned and helped each other into their armor, this is important because they both had the opportunity to sabotage the other but they choose not to. When they are found fighting by Theseus, Palamon immediately insists on being killed for his misdeeds but also demands that Arcite be killed too. Palamon recognizes his just penalty and does not argue against it. After Arcite is wounded during the tournament and he becomes aware of his impending death, he calls Emily and Palamon to his side. After bemoaning his fate, Arcite turns to Emily with these words: “If you are ever to be a wife, forget not Palamon, the gentle man.” (Chaucer 1939) By the time Arcite dies, he and Palamon have no more quarrels between them. He died and lived with honor just as Palamon
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