| Quote #4
[He] swoor his ooth, as he was trewe knyght,
Theseus demonstrates his respect for the proper order of things by promising to kill Creon, who refuses to allow the wives of men he's defeated to bury their husbands' bodies. Theseus can't let Creon's savagery stand unpunished. He must balance the books by killing Creon. Notice how it's important to Theseus that everybody know what happens to Creon, "that all the peple of Grece sholde speke / How Creon was of Theseus yserved." It's not just that Theseus wants to take vengeance; he also wants to show the world that wrongs won't go unpunished – not while he's around.
| Quote #5
'It nere,' quod he, 'to thee no greet honour
Palamon takes a long time to make a short point: that Arcite and he have sworn an oath to further one another's interests in everything. As knights, it would be breaking the rules of chivalry for them to break that oath. Palamon craftily tries to win Arcite to his point of view with flattery, sort of, "I know you would never break a sworn oath, Arcite." But he also presents his argument in strong language, implying that Palamon will be a traitor and dishonorable if he breaks his promise.
| Quote #6
'Wostow nat wel the olde clerkes sawe
Palamon claims that Arcite will be breaking their oath of sworn brotherhood if he continues to love Emily. However, Arcite says that love is a "gretter," or higher, law than any earthly one. So love supersedes all other commitments. Although it's presented here in a world of ancient Greek paganism, this idea would ring true for medieval Christians as well. They would have remembered Christ's claim that he brought a new law of love, one that won out over the commandments-based law of the Old Testament. This passage also pits the rules of chivalry, represented by Arcite and Palamon's oath of brotherhood, against the rules of courtly love, which demand a lover's loyalty to his lady above all else.