The eldest woman informs him that they are grieving the loss of their husbands, who were killed at the siege of the city of Thebes. Creon, the lord of Thebes, has dishonored them by refusing to bury or cremate their bodies.
Duke Theseus returns from overthrowing Scythia with his new wife, Hippolyta, and her sister, Emilie. Outside Athens, he meets a band of weeping women and learns that the tyrant Creon has murdered their husbands and dishonors the dead by leaving them unburied.
Incensed, Theseus quickly overthrows Creon and restores the Theban dead to the women for ceremonial burying. After the destruction of Creon's forces, booty hunters find two young knights Palamon and Arcite who are not quite dead.
Theseus decides against executing the knights and instead imprisons them with no hope of ransom. One morning several years later, Palamon sees the beautiful Emilie wandering about in her garden and cries out in pain. Arcite peers from the tower window and, upon seeing the fair Emilie, proclaims his own love for her.
Because both knights claim their love for Emilie, their friendship gives way to hostility. About this time, a friend to both Theseus and Arcite arrives in Athens and secures Arcite's release on the condition that he never return to Athens. Both knights think the other luckier: Palamon, because he can still see the beautiful Emilie; Arcite, because he can raise an army and capture her.
Back in Thebes, Arcite sinks into a lover's melancholy. As a result of his lamenting, his physical appearance changes so much that he is no longer recognizable.
One night, Mercury, the messenger of the gods, appears and orders him to return to Athens, which he does. Taking the name Philostrate, Arcite is employed as a page in the House of Emilie.
Meanwhile, Palamon languishes in the prison tower. At last, whether by chance or destiny, Palamon escapes and flees to a grove.
That morning, by chance, Arcite goes to the same grove and, thinking himself alone, recites his history aloud, blaming Juno, Mars, and especially Venus for his plight. Palamon, who had not recognized Arcite, finally identifies him through his lament and leaps up, swearing to kill Arcite for his treachery and law breaking.
The two arrange to duel the following day. The next day, the men duel, dismissing all knightly ceremony. Theseus and his entourage arrive upon the bloody scene. Theseus stops the duel and rebukes the knights for their behavior.
Palamon tells all, demanding that both be killed for their crimes, and Theseus swears that the wish will be granted, but he relents when the women of his company beg mercy for the knights.
Theseus proposes a formal tournament in one year with each knight supported by one hundred knights. The winner of the joust will get the hand of Emilie.The Knight's Tale very openly acknowledges the role of fate through the gods: Palamon leaves his fate to theology, blaming his fate on Venus, Juno and Saturn.
Arcite and Palamon as characters, then, without any real autonomy and speaking only formal, elegant laments, are . The Knight provides an elaborate frame narrative for his story: before he reaches the heart of the tale (that is, the story of the two knights), the Knight spends a lot of time setting the stage and describing the backstory of Theseus’s world.
Geoffrey Chaucer. Summary and Analysis The Knight's Tale. Part I: Duke Theseus returns from overthrowing Scythia with his new wife, Hippolyta, and her sister, Emilie. Outside Athens, he meets a band of weeping women and learns that the tyrant Creon has murdered their husbands and dishonors the dead by leaving them unburied.
In what ways and to what extent is Chaucer's Knight's Tale appropriate to its teller, "a verray parfit, gentil knycht?Sophie KingChaucer's Knight's Tale is a story in which the courtly ideals of the chivalric knight are questioned. The Knight’s Tale is a romance that encapsulates the themes, motifs, and ideals of courtly love: love is like an illness that can change the lover’s physical appearance, the lover risks death to win favor with his lady, and he is inspired to utter eloquent poetic complaints.
The Knight provides an elaborate frame narrative for his story: before he reaches the heart of the tale (that is, the story of the two knights), the Knight spends a lot of time setting the stage and describing the backstory of Theseus’s world.