The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale Suffering Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
'For I moot wepe and wayle, whil I lyve,
With al the wo that prison may me yeve,
And eek with peyne that love me yeveth also,
That doubleth al my torment and my wo.'
Palamon, stuck in prison while Arcite goes free, says that both imprisonment and love cause him suffering, or "wo." In fact, love seems to cause so much suffering, that we're starting to wonder why anyone would want to feel it. Theseus raises this same question later on.
And in his geere for al the world he ferde
Nat oonly lik the loveris maladye
Of Hereos, but rather lyk manye
Engendred of humour malencolik
Biforen in his celle fantastik.
This excerpt concludes a passage that details Arcite's suffering while he's not able to see Emily. He's so upset, says the narrator, that he behaves not "oonly" like a lovesick fool, but rather like a former prisoner driven mad by his imprisonment. Of course, Arcite is both a lover and a former prisoner. This creates a literal connection between love and imprisonment and also links the two in the way they cause suffering.
Of his lynage am I, and his ofspryng,
By verray ligne, as of the stok roial,
And now I am so caytyf and so thral
That he that is my mortal enemy
I serve hym as his squier povrely.
Like the lamenting women who met Theseus on his way back to Athens, Arcite here identifies the cause of his woe to be a fall from prosperity. He once held a high position in, but now he's a "caytyf," or wretched slave, to his mortal enemy. This fall from grace troubles him, as it did the lamenting women (the ones who beg Theseus to kill Creon). Unlike them, however, Arcite has chosen his lowly position because of his love for Emily. Here again, love is causing suffering.