The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale Part 4, Lines 1625-1804 Summary
- It's feasting time in Athens. Everyone is celebrating, excited about the upcoming tournament. People are betting on which of the Theban knights will perform best in battle.
- On the morning of the tournament day, all of the knights and people of Athens come to the palace to hear Theseus's rules for the competition. Here are the rules:
- The knights shouldn't kill each other. Fighting to the death is ungentlemanly.
- The knights on horses can only use spears. Knights on foot can use whatever weapons they want.
- The battle ends when one of the leaders is captured.
- Basically, it's like a bunch of knights playing capture the flag.
- Theseus wishes the knights luck, then finds his seats in the stadium, along with Hippolyta and Emily.
- Now, let the battle begin!
- Team Arcite rides through the westward gate of Mars. At the same time, Team Palamon rides through the gate of Venus.
- Both sides look evenly matched.
- The knights all take their positions, trumpets sounds, and the fighting begins.
- Spears are launched, bones break, blood flows, horses fall and crush their riders, wounded men are captured.
- The battle is so long and vicious that Theseus has to call time out multiple times so that the knights can eat, drink, and rest.
- Again the narrator compares Arcite to a wild tiger and Palamon to a bloodthirsty lion.
- Finally the battle comes to an end when King Emetreus (fighting on Arcite's side) stabs Palamon while he grapples with Arcite. Palamon, still fighting, is captured.
- King Lycurgus tries to rescue Palamon, but is overpowered.
- Theseus announces that the battle is over, and that Arcite will marry Emily.
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