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The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale Love Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #4

And with that word Arcite gan espye
Wher-as this lady romed to and fro,
And with that sighte hir beautee hurte hym so,
That, if that Palamon was wounded sore,
Arcite is hurt as moche as he, or moore.

Arcite's love for Emily strikes him in just like it struck Palamon – Emily's beauty has wounded his heart.  The similarity between Palamon and Arcite's love for Emily makes deciding who should get her all the more difficult.  It's not like one knight deserves her more because of his greater love for her, despite what the knights might believe. (For more on this, check out "Characters: Palamon and Arcite.")

Quote #5

And with a sigh he seyde pitously
'The fresshe beautee sleeth me sodeynly
Of hire, that rometh in the yonder place,
And but I have hir mercy and hir grace
That I may seen hir atte leeste weye,
I nam but deed, ther is namoore to seye.'

Arcite makes use of all the courtly love conventions in this depiction of his love for Emily. It slays, or kills him. If the lover refuses to take pity on him, the lover will die. Courtly love, then, is a very dramatic (maybe more like melodramatic) way of talking about love.

Quote #6

And now thou woldest falsly been aboute
To love my lady, whom I love and serve
And evere shal, til that myn herte sterve.
Nay, certes, false Arcite, thow shalt nat so!
I loved hire first, and tolde thee my wo.

In a somewhat childish move, Palamon chooses the "I saw her first" school of argument. His declaration that he will love and serve Emily eternally may seem like a huge commitment to someone he hasn't even met.  Then again, this kind of immediate devotion is part of the conventions of the courtly love system.

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