Abstract

In Chaucer's Knight's Tale, chivalric heroism depends on a knight's ability to exercise both prowess and lordship. This article analyzes chivalry in Chaucer's romance alongside medieval didactic texts and modern historical discussions of the English nobility to suggest that the medieval imagination considered noble social status, and the personal control of men that status implied, to be an integral aspect of knighthood. As Theseus, Palamon, and Arcite call upon attendants in preparation for combat and prestigious displays, they demonstrate Chaucer's interest in interdependent relationships between noblemen and their supporters. The tale characterizes chivalry as an organizing principle that links men together with bonds of mutual loyalty.

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