The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale
Competition Quotes Page 4
How we cite our quotes:
'And, wel I woot, er she me mercy heete,
I moot with strengthe wynne hir in the place.
And, wel I woot, withouten help or grace
Of thee, ne may my strengthe noght availle.
Thanne help me, lord, tomorwe in my bataille
For thilke fyr that whilom brente thee,
As wel as thilke fyr now brenneth me!
And do that I tomorwe have victorie,
Myn be the travaille and thyn be the glorie!'
Arcite asks Mars, the god of war, to help him win the battle between himself and Palamon. He appeals to Mars by trying to show how they're connected: his lovesickness burns him just as the sacrificial fire now burns Mars. Before it can end, Arcite must "wynne [Emily] in the place." But if he does, he promises to link himself and Mars further by making sure that his victory feeds Mars's glory.
And right anon swich strif ther is bigonne
For thilke grauntyng, in the hevene above
Bitwixe Venus, the Goddesse of Love,
and Mars the stierne God armypotente,
That Jupiter was bisy it to stente.
This passage shows how the competition between Palamon and Arcite begins to echo even in heaven. Venus, to whom Palamon has prayed for Emily's love, is at odds with Mars, to whom Arcite has prayed for victory. The strife in the heavens creates problems for Jupiter who, like Theseus on earth, is responsible for keeping order in his kingdom.
The stronge kyng Emetreus gan hente
This Palamoun, as he faught with Arcite,
And made his swerd depe in his flessh to byte.
And by the force of twenty is he take
Unyolden, and ydrawen unto the stake.
This passage emphasizes Palamon's bravery and skill by telling how it takes twenty men to capture him and how, even after his capture, he is "unyolden," or unyielding. Nevertheless, Palamon's capture means that he has lost the joust, and Emily.