A Comparison of the Knight and the Squire in Chaucer's the Canterbury

1254 WordsOct 8, 19996 Pages
In the medieval period that is described by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, chivalry was perhaps the most recognized quality of a true gentleman. This quality is explored in Chaucer's two characters of the warrior class, the Knight and the Squire. The squire is the son of the Knight; both ride gallantly and have the air of true gentleman warriors. However, the two are very dissimilar despite their appearances. The Knight possesses the true qualities of chivalry, devotion to service, constancy in humility, and honesty. The Squire possesses none of these qualities truly; instead his demeanor is one that is less honorable and virtuous. Although both claim the same vocation, the Squire and the Knight display contradicting attitudes…show more content…
The Knight's manner of speech also supports this: And though so much distinguished, he was wise And in his bearing as modest as a maid. He never yet a boorish thing had said In all his life to any, come what might; He was a true, a perfect gentle-knight. (5) Chaucer already summarizes the characteristics of the Knight as making up a "perfect gentle-knight", and the many tales of courage add more credibility to Chaucer's summary. The knight's behavior was "as modest as a maid" (5). This is contrary to the "lad of fire" and although the Squire had "wonderful strength and agility", he did not use it to the full extent that his father used his own. In all aspects, in comparison with his own contradictory behavior, and in comparison with the Knight's behavior, the Squire is shown to be less than sincere in his chivalry. The Knight and the Squire have distinctly different attitudes towards their vocation. As a result, they are complementing images of the medieval warrior. The Knight is the romantic image that all true knights aspire to, generously practicing such chivalrous qualities as dedication, humility, and sincerity. Contrasting this, however, is the image depicted by the Squire, that of an imperfect knight who was to some degree boastful, lusting, or superficial. The Squire was never directly criticized by Chaucer, but the implications that resulted from the description amounted to an extravagant, un-chivalrous

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