The Actions Of Arcite And Palamon In The Knight's Tale

954 Words4 Pages
How can a person’s greatest love become their greatest sorrow? This question is displayed through the actions of two cousins, Arcite and Palamon, in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale”. These two characters find what they believe to be their one true love, but they may lose each other in order to gain the hand of their beloved, Emily. They must battle against each other, and the champion will receive Emily’s hand in marriage. Both Arcite and Palamon pray to the gods, Mars, god of war, and Venus, god of love, respectively, to secure their spot as the victor. While their personalities are indistinguishable, their desires lack similarity. These similarities include taking oaths, love at first sight, and knightly virtue. The cousins take an oath, where they…show more content…
Knowing that love can make people act irrationally, the two welcome the oath regardless. The second similarity between Arcite and Palamon is the experience of love at first sight. While in the prison tower, the two cousins look out and catch a glimpse of the beautiful woman. At first, Palamon mistakes Emily as the goddess, Venus, because Emily is the image of perfect beauty. He instantly falls in love with her when they made eye contact. He is struck through the eyes to the heart, as if he is struck by Cupid’s bow. Just as Palamon did, Arcite falls in love with Emily, and “at the sight her beauty touched him” (56). These cousins may have fallen in love, but they are faced with two vital problems. The first being that Emily does not reciprocate these feelings for Arcite and Palamon, and the second is the fact that the cousins are put in prison for life without ransom. Neither will have the chance to have a proper relationship with Emily. Arcite and Palamon have a third similarity between them, which is their knightly virtue. These virtues are comprised of chivalric duties a knight must follow if they wish to behave with honor. Arcite and Palamon demonstrate several of the duties, such as

More about The Actions Of Arcite And Palamon In The Knight's Tale

Open Document