Remind yourself of the portrait of the Knight. Discuss the

The general prologue is in effect a device to introduce us to the pilgrims of “The Canterbury Tales”. With each subsection broken down into hierarchical tiers, the Knight is presented as ruling his own section of society with his squire subservient to him. A literally quite perfect soldier and general example of a gentleman, the knight receives ample praise from Chaucer, and he appears humble and reticent, attired in only the most simple and practical clothes. However is this an accurate depiction of the knight? Indeed Chaucer’s over enthusiasm to present him as such could in fact be seen to taint this suggestion; could this be a satiric attack on the mercenary characteristics of the defenders of the Catholic Church, the promoters of the Christian faith? From the very first line of his depiction an immediate sense of dedication and honour is created of this knight. He is “a worthy man”?he loved chivalrie, Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie”. Chaucer here is seemingly presenting the knight as a symbol of valour, an embodiment of all the ideals embraced in knighthood summarised by “chivalrie”. This effect is further compounded by “And therto hadde he ridden, no man ferre”. The use of superlative clearly underlines the sense of perfection reserved for this pilgrim as he has ventured further than any other man would dare, a paean to his gallantry. His politeness, modesty and piety build up an impression of virtuous character, which is confirmed by his “bismotered harbergeon”. It is entirely feasible that Chaucer the poet is creating a standard that all knights must adhere to, and thus due to his own experiences abroad in the hundred years war, this perfection seems to indicate a somewhat satirical attack on the militaristic disposition, an indication of its perhaps undesirable and mercenary qualities: “He nevere yet no vileynie ne saide”?He was a verray, parfit gentil knight.” Again the image …

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