Canterbury Tales Essay

During the Middle Ages there were many professions, some of them were honorable others were not. In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, there are profiles of some the professions that were present during the Middle Ages. Among the professions there were a few that seemed unappealing. Personally, I do not like the professions that accept bribes; in this case the Friar represented characteristics of that profession. Other professions provoke suffering of another human being. For example, the Summoner’s job was to bring people accused of violating Church law to court.

This profession would not appeal to me since I do not find it rewarding to bring people to court that essentially might be punished and possibly for the wrong reasons. After reading about the professions and profiles of each character in Canterbury’s Tales, the Knight’s profession had the most honor and appeal. Therefore, the occupation I have chosen is the Knight. Of all the portraits and tales, the Knight gets to be the first one to be mentioned. The narrator speaks very favorably in regard to the Knight. He represents the epitome of a medieval Christian soldier.

During the Middle Ages, knights were part of an order and brotherhood that was very wealthy, well-connected and lived above the law. Knights were on the receiving end of being showered with wealth and land possessions by medieval aristocracy. Also, if you were a knight then you would be very well trained to fight and therefore would be able to protect yourself whenever you needed to. To me, all these benefits seem favorable and appealing. Of course, there is also a numerous amount of positive praise within the Canterbury Tales. There are many examples and quotes that represent a knight’s greatness.

He has participated in many of the great crusades of his era,” And foughten for oure feith at tramyssene In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo. ” (Chaucer, Canterbury Tales Lines 63-64). More importantly, when it comes to traits and personal character, the Knight is described to be a worthy man that is chivalrous, honest and honorable, “A knyght ther was, and that a worthy man, That fro the tyme that he first bigan To riden out, he loved chivalrie, Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie”  (Chaucer, Canterbury Tales Lines 43-46).

In addition to all the complients describing the Knight he was also very wise, “And though that he were worthy, he was wys” (Chaucer, Canterbury Tales Line 68). The Knight was also a character the people of the Middles Ages mostly thought of as truly good and the picture of perfection, “He was a verray, parfit gentil knight” (Chaucer Canterbury Tales Line 72). Overall, the narrator makes suggestions that the Knight is brave, experienced, pious, perfect, and greatly admires him. Throughout the entire prologue, only positive things were said about the knight.

I would like to participate in a profession where I was admired and respected by society as a whole. To be seen as the epitome of perfection would be delightful. Most people would agree with me on the matter since picking this profession has so many advantages. Being a knight would grant me land and power that some of the other professions during the Middle Ages could not have dreamt of. Also, in that period of time, there were often raids and pillages, knights have the power to protect themselves as well the people that he cares about.

I think the ability to do this is essential because I have family and friends that I care about dearly. For example, if I was a knight and my sister was with me and we were both about to be kidnapped, I would possess the power to protect both of us from harm because I am a highly-skilled fighter. Therefore to know that the people closest to me will be safe is favorable feature since it will give me peace of mind. Another major reason I chose being a knight as a profession is based simply on the fact that all knights have to be males. Back in the day, females had little to no rights.

It would also be pleassant to be a male and possess power that females did not have. Even women of status and power did have the right to choose for themselves. A woman’s fate is often predetermined by gods of the King whom is a male figure. In the Canterbury Tales, the female characters are often over shadowed by the male character. There are several examples in the Knight’s Tale that help me illustrate my point. The Knight’s Tale is a tale about two knights, Arcite and Palamon, who are captured in battle and imprisoned in Athens under the order of King Theseus.

While imprisoned in a tower, both see Emelye, the sister of Queen Hippolyta, and fall instantly in love with her. They fight over Emelye, but their fight is stopped when Theseus finds them. Theseus sets the rules for a duel between the two knights for Emelye’s affection. In actuality, Emelye does not even want the men to fight and wants both of them to live. She prays to Diana asking to marry neither of the men so they can both live. She leaves it to the gods to decide and cannot decide herself. Emelye tends to take herself out of the equation and only thinks about the greater good of other people.

Even though her attempt is selfless, her portrayal of the typical female character makes all the females seem weak. Therefore, this is extremely unappealing to me. I would much rather be independent like the knights back then and be able to earn my own destiny. In the last part of the Knight’s tale, King Theseus announces the fate of Emelye, “’Suster,’ quod he, ‘this is my fulle assent, With al th’avys heere of my parlement That gentil Palamon, youre owene knyght, That serveth yow with wille, herte, and myght, And ever hath doon syn ye first hym knewe, That ye shul of youre grace upon hym rewe, And taken hym for housbonde and for lord.

Lat se now of youre wommanly pitee. He is a kynges brother sone, pardee; And though he were a povre bacheler, Syn he hath served yow so many a yeer, And had for yow so greet adversitee, , It moste been considered, leeveth me, For gentil mercy oghte to passen right. ’ Palamon and Emelye marry” (Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales Lines 3075-3089). In this excerpt, it is understood that Emelye cannot make her own decisions and the King decides for her.

The king also refers to Palamon as a rightful brother because he served as a knight. Even though the brothers were knights that were captured, there were still displayed as honorable and did not try to kill each other in a dishonorable way in order to have Emelye. Female professions have little rights and religious servants are sometimes hypocrites. It is better to be the Knight because of various reasons. He is a figure of everything positive and as a profession; I would choose to be one.