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03/18/2011 04:26 AM
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An Analysis Of The Knight Of The Canterbury Tales

An interesting aspect of the famous literary work, The Canterbury Tales, is the contrast of realistic and exaggerated qualities that Chaucer gives to each of his characters. Among the many characters includes a knight; Chaucer refers to the Knight as, “a most distinguished man”; his sketch of the knight is highly complimentary (43). The knight displays many traits which make him seem almost too good to be true, and a true gentleman who rarely exists in reality. He possesses four main admirable traits, making him the most admired traveler in The Canterbury Tales.  
From the knight’s impressive introduction, “Who from the day …ride abroad had followed chivalry, truth, generousness and courtesy,” it is clear that he is the most valued and honorable traveler among the group (Chaucer 44-46). Even though the knight has participated in many battles, he is careful not to brag about his stories. “And…distinguished, he was wise…he was a true, perfect gentle-knight (Chaucer 70-74). He believes in the ideals of chivalry and always stays true to his principles, which gain him honor and an impeccable reputation.
Chaucer tells us that the knight, “…possessed fine horse, but he was not gaily dressed (75-76). Indeed, the knight is dressed in a common shirt which is stained “where his armor had left mark” (Chaucer 78); he did not care about other people’s opinions because he was on the pilgrimage to give thanks to St. Thomas, not for glory for himself. He resembles very few people in modern society, giving a quality of exaggeration to the excellence found in the knight that represents embodiment of the ideal man as seen by Chaucer.
The knight has had a very busy life as his fight career has taken him to a great many places. “…Often sat at table in the chair of honor, above all nations…” (Chaucer 53), and he has seen military service in Prussia, Lithuania, Russia, Granada, Algeciras, Spain, North Africa and Alexandria. He fought in the holy wars known as the…

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