The Role of Women in Knight’s Tale

4 April 2015
An analysis of the role of women and the concept of love in Chaucer’s `Knight’s Tale.

This paper introduces Geoffrey Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale` and the roles of men, women and love in the story. The concepts are explored through an examination of the characters and story with examples from the text. Chaucer’s portrayal of women in his other works is considered.
Knight’s Tale` is a story about two cousins, Arcite and Palamon and their love for the same woman ` the beautiful Emelye ` that leads them finally to battle for her. Both the story and the climax is most representative of the attitudes of the knights in those times to women and love (love was often seen linked to concepts of manhood, chivalry and honor.) Chaucer shows Arcite and Palamon battling (figuratively and literally) to win the hand of Emelye. The tournament is held `For love and for encrees of chivalrye` (2184).
The fact that Emelye, herself, is portrayed as wishing for maidenhood through her life and to that extent, indifferent to the courtship of both only adds further substantiation to the theory that perhaps Arcite and Palamon were more driven to prove their credentials as virile knights rather than their passion for Emelye.`

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