Characteristics Of The Knight In The Canterbury Tales

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Although some knights were depicted as being selfish and careless about others, there were some knights who were depicted as possessing heroic qualities such as strength, courage, selflessness, and many more. The Knight in The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer, is one example of a knight who possesses heroic qualities. “There was a Knight a most distinguished man, who from the day on which he first began to ride abroad had followed chivalry, truth, honour, and generousness and courtesy” (Chaucer 4). The Knight is a generous and courteous man and fights with honor and fidelity, as a hero should. The narrator in The Canterbury Tales also calls the Knight wise and a “… true, perfect gentle-knight” (Chaucer 5). Not only was he a gentle Knight, but a strong Knight as well because of the various battles he participated in. These traits that the Knight possessed that the narrator in The Canterbury Tales seems to fond over are reminiscent of a true hero. A hero is said to be strong, kind, brave, selfless, and loyal. The Knight fits this description almost perfectly. The Knight is not the only knight in the Middle Ages that was depicted as being a hero. Lancelot, although possessing some antiheroic traits, possessed qualities of a hero as well. In The Knight of the Cart, at the beginning of Lancelot’s quest to save Guinevere, he runs into a dwarf who is riding the shaft of a cart. He asks the dwarf if he has seen Guinevere at all, but the dwarf does not give him any information and instead tells him to get in the cart and he will know by morning of what happened to Guinevere. Riding a cart during those times was not a good thing. “The cart was for all criminals alike, for all traitors and murders… the guilty person was taken and made to mount in the cart… he had lost all his feudal rights and never heard at court” (Troyes 211). At first, Lancelot hesitated for a couple of seconds, but then he decided to ride in the cart, knowing the repercussions of doing it. This shows Lancelot as a selfless individual because he was focused on rescuing Guinevere. Lancelot sacrificed his reputation for Guinevere. “By stressing how shameful it is to ride in the cart, Chrétien thereby stresses how noble it is of Lancelot to so
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