The Canterbury Tales Questions and Answers
by Geoffrey Chaucer

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What are some important quotations from "The Knight's Tale" in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and how are those quotations important to the meaning of the tale?

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Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale” is full of phrases or passages that seem especially significant to the larger meaning of the work.  Many of them appear, in fact, in the very opening lines of the tale, including the following:

  • At one point, the Knight refers to the “wysdom and . . . chivalrie” of Theseus (865) – two traits valued and displayed by the Knight himself, and traits arguably also endorsed by Chaucer as important and admiral values.
  • Later, Theseus is addressed as a

"Lord, to whom Fortune hath yiven [that is, given]

Victorie” (915-16).

Such phrasing would have reminded medieval readers that life sometimes presents us with good fortune and sometimes with bad fortune.  We have little control over the kind of fortune we encounter; all we can really hope to control is the way we react to whatever kind of fortune we face.

  • Shortly thereafter, a woman ("The eldeste lady of hem alle") refers to

“Fortune and hire false wheel,

That noon estaat assureth to be weel.”...

(The entire section contains 585 words.)

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