The Canterbury Tales Essay Research Paper Knight

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The Canterbury Tales Essay, Research Paper Knight -vs- Squire: The Comparison of Time Periods in The Canterbury Tales One of the most important pieces of English literature is Geoffrey Chaucer?s, The Canterbury Tales. This piece is highly regarded, because it gives insight into the simplicity of life in England, through it?s extensive cast of characters. One of the most important parts of this piece is the General Prologue. The General Prologue is very important to the piece, because Chaucer uses it to contrast characters with similar backgrounds or jobs. This contrast can be seen vividly in the descriptions of the Knight and the Squire. Both the Knight and the Squire are examples of warriors, but of different ages and social standing; because of this, Chaucer is able to

depict the differences between the attitudes of the late Medieval society and blossoming age of Renaissance. By using similar characters and similar characterizations, Chaucer is able to illuminate the vast differences between the Knight and the Squire. Chaucer?s primary description of the Knight and his battles is that of untarnished virtue. Chaucer says, ?…he loved chivalrye, Trouthe and honour, freedom and curteisye? (General Prologue, 45-46). Chaucer describes the Knight as the perfect noble knight. The Knight?s true love is of chivalry and honor. He is depicted as a warrior who does his duty, because it is right. He believes in what he does, and isn?t a warrior for any other reason. Chaucer further portrays this quality about the Knight through the battles which he has

been involved in. The Knight was never involved in a battle of secular nature. The Knight only fought in religious wars. Chaucer once says, ?…And foughten for our faith at Tramissene…? (General Prologue, 62). This line implies that the Knight fought for the religious faith of the land or King. When in battle, the Knight?s intentions were always noble. The Knight never had any hidden agendas, and never fought for the prospect of material or social advancement. The Squire, unlike the Knight, fought for reasons other than honor and duty. The Squire was first characterized as ?A lover and a lusty bacheler.? (General Prologue, 80). The Squire is depicted as the type of man who cares more for the women that he can impress than of the honor he will protect and save. Chaucer further

classifies the Squire as a typical ladies man when he says, ?In hope to stonden in his [lady?s] grace.? (General Prologue, 88). The Squire?s primary goal when going into battle is impressing the woman whom he is after. Unlike his father, the Squire wasn?t interested in chivalry, honor, or courtesy. The Squire goes into battle for his own personal gain. The Squire is the type of warrior who asks how much am I going to get paid for this battle, and not, what are we fighting these people for. Chaucer advances this characterization when he writes, ?…he hadde been some time in the [King?s cavalry]? (General Prologue, 85). These cavalry expeditions, as is said in the footnote, fought constantly against the French. These battles were probably fought for no other reason than

territorial disputes. Unlike the Knight, who was fighting heathens, the Squire fought other Christians for material possession. Though fighting for territorial reasons is important, when paired up with the example of the Knight, who fought for merely religious purposes, the Squire?s reasons for fighting seem somewhat trivial and honorless. This factor further adds to the characterization of both men, because in both cases the men?s reason for fighting and their personalities match. The Knight fought for honor and in honorable matches, but was probably the type of man who would provide his enemy with a sword before a fight. The Squire, conversely, fought for gain and fought in battles that were strictly for the gain of the state. Chaucer uses this pairing to depict the differences