The Knight


In Geoffrey Chaucer?s The Canterbury Tales, the Knight is the epitome of what a knight should be. He has quite the heroic past, having been in practically every single battle during his time, and he is also a genuinely nice guy. The Knight differs from everyone else on the pilgrimage, seeming that he does not have any vices or imperfections. The average person would not suspect the Knight to have the high social rank that he does based off of his appearance and modest demeanor. The Knight is the first of the pilgrims to be described in the prologue. Chaucer immediately says in the first few lines of the poem that the Knight is a ?worthy man,? having ?truth and honour? and ?freedom and courtesy.? These are the main qualities of the Knight that the reader can see throughout the tales.
The Knight?s impressive military career is what has given him his ?honour.? No man has ridden farther in all of Christendom and Heathendom. He has fought and won battles apart of the Crusades in Alexandria, Belgazir, Prussia, and Lithuania, just to name a few. He is often recognized for his achievements in battles: ?And ever more he had a sovereign prize.? The Knight, being a distinguished hero in the Crusade battles, was honored for ?his worthiness.? He, so often engaged with fighting for the holy land, has just come ?from his voyage/ And went for to do his pilgrimage.? Even though his career is wholly dignified, the Knight?s appearance is more average. Because of this, his impassable integrity and honor is highlighted. ?His horse was good; but he was not gay.? He is never well dressed (gay), most likely because he never has time to put thought into his appearance due to constantly being on journeys across the world. His tunic is made of coarse cloth and is still stained with his blood when he joins the pilgrims. This shows his eagerness to do whatever is asked of him despite the circumstances.
The Knight?s heroism and modest appearance alone does not make him an all-around ideal individual, his mannerisms do. ?Ne never yet no villainy he said/ In all his life unto no manner wight.? In other words, the Knight has never, in his entire life, spoken harsh words or shown rudeness towards others. While on the pilgrimage, he takes role as the peacemaker of the group, calling for the Pardoner and the Host to reconcile after the Host takes offense at the Pardoner?s attempt to sell fake relics to the other pilgrims. Clearly, the Knight dislikes any and all conflict.
The Knight possesses all the qualities of a chivalrous individual. He is not only brave, worthy, and honorable, but also wise. Additionally, he is polite, honest, generous, and loyal. His behavior is a point of contrast between the very different behavior of characters like the Miller and the Pardoner. The story the Knight tells is exactly what the reader would expect to come from such an honorable person: a tale much less raunchy than the rest. Unlike the other characters, the Knight is not complex; he is without faults and therefore does not have a personality as complicated and problem-ridden as some of the other pilgrims.