The Canterbury Tales: the Knight and the Squire

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The Most Interesting and Engaging Title Ever used by Man Geoffrey Chaucer’s great unfinished work The Canterbury Tales has enraptured audiences for ages. The public loves to hear the tales told by all of these intricly described characters like the knight and the squire. The Knight and the Squire are an example of two characters in The Canterbury Tales who are at their core, very different people who at first glance seem to be very similar. Their differences can be seen by their motivations for battle, how they conduct themselves on a daily basis, and how they chose to live their lives. If one closely examines the text then they will see that the Knight and the Squire both pursued battle for very different reasons. The knight fights for honor, county and religion, “In fifteen mortal battles he had been / And jousted for our faith at Tramissene / Thrice in the lists, and always killed his man.”(line 63-65), he is not trying to show off or boast of his skill but simply defend what he believes in. The squire on the other, while fighting bravely and admirably enters battle only to impress women, “He’d seen some service with the cavalry / (…) And had done valiantly in little space / Of time, in hope to win his lady’s grace.”(87-90). So he does fight admirably, but only for his personal gain. This is in stark contrast to the Knight, who constantly puts his life on the line expecting nothing in return; he does simply because it is the right thing to do. How a person conducts themselves on a daily basis can tell you a lot about their character and motivations. If one were to examine the Knight then they would see he is a humble, brave, and kind man. “And though so much distinguished, he was wise / And in his bearing modest as a maid. / He never yet a boorish thing had said / In all his life to any, come what might; / He was a true, a perfect gentle-knight.”(70-74).

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