Examples Of Courtly Love In The Knight's Tale

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In The Knight’s Tale of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a knight tells the tale of two knights who fight for the woman they love. The knight who tells the story exhibits characteristics such as chivalry, honor, and nobility, which is reflected throughout the story he tells. The Knight’s Tale is a story about two knights who fall in love with the same woman. Chivalry, in the knight’s sense, is a display of qualities such as courage, honor, courtesy, and justice. Courtly love, on the other hand, follows the theme of love in the medieval court. Arcita and Palamon exhibit both of these qualities in their quest to win the heart of Emily. According to Charlemagne’s code of chivalry, a knight must exemplify multiple characteristics in order…show more content…
The most prominent concept of courtly love is shown by Arcita and Palamon falling in love with the same woman. According to the rules of courtly love, it is acceptable for two men to love one woman, although it will cause much strife between the two. When Palamon overhears Arcita complaining about how much he loves Emily, he jumps out at his cousin stating, “Arcita, oh you traitor wicked, / Now are you caught, that crave my lady so…/ Either I shall be dead or you shall die. / You shall not love my lady Emily” (45). The sight of a loved one causes heart palpitations, which is another ideal of courtly love, is displayed when both Arcita and Palamon see Emily for the first time. Palamon “cast his eyes upon Emilia, / And thereupon he blenched and cried out ‘Ah!’/ As if he had been beaten to the heart” (32). This passage clearly illustrates the concept of heart palpitations at the sight of a loved one. To add, when Arcita is released and banished from Athens, his health diminishes due to his heart longing for Emily. Arcita, “[b]ereft he was of sleep and meat and drink,” had starved himself to the point where his “eyes were hollow and ghastly to behold, / His face was sallow, all pale and ashen-cold”, because he was not able to see his love, Emily, which preserves the notion of courtly love that one does not eat or sleep due to the fact that their love for another is too strong (39). These ideals reflect the values of both the teller of the story, the knight, along with the medieval nobility of the
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