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The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale


by Geoffrey Chaucer

Theseus Timeline and Summary

  • On his way home from conquering Scythia, Theseus meets a group of mourning women who ask him to take revenge on Creon, lord of Thebes, for refusing to allow them to bury their husbands' bodies.
  • Theseus agrees, and wages war on Thebes, defeating Creon.
  • Theseus takes Palamon and Arcite hostage without hope of ransom.
  • Theseus agrees to release Arcite at the request of their mutual friend, Perotheus.
  • Out hunting one day, Theseus stumbles upon Arcite and Palamon dueling over Emily.
  • Theseus makes a speech about how love is a cruel master that causes men to do foolish things.
  • Theseus decrees that Arcite and Palamon must return to Athens with 100 soldiers each and engage in a joust that will determine who marries Emily.
  • Theseus constructs a huge stadium for the joust, complete with temples of Mars, Venus, and Diana.
  • Theseus hosts a welcome banquet for Palamon and Arcite's companies.
  • Theseus presides over the joust.
  • Theseus hosts an evening banquet after the joust, and gives gifts to all the men who fought in it.
  • After Arcite's death, Theseus arranges a lavish funeral for him.
  • After he recalls Palamon to Athens, Theseus gives a speech before him, Emily, and his counselors about the meaning of death and the proper response to it.
  • Theseus asks Palamon to marry Emily.