What is the symbolism on The Knight's Tale?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "Knight's Tale" is a romance, a fairy tale, a quest of and for the ideal.  Its exemplum deals with the ideal forms of love and chivalry.  As such, its major symbols have to do with the quest: knights, goddesses, the battlefield, the hand of the beloved, the test of combat, the meeting by the trees, the choice of the beloved.

Here are some other symbols/motifs/and imagery, with quotes as support:

Seasons: "morn in May"; "talk of green, And fresher than is May with flowers new"

Nature: "That “Fields have eyes and every wood has ears. It’s well for one to bear himself with poise;"

Prison: prisoner, As was his wont, by leave of his jailer"

Gods/mortals: "Whether she is a woman or goddess! Yours is a worship as of holiness, While mine is love, as of a mortal maid;"

Heaven/Hell: "No more in Purgatory, but in Hell."..."In prison? Never, but in Paradise!"

Fate vs. choice: "Of what great God, or Fortune, may ordain, When better is the gift, in any guise,"

Read the study guide:
The Canterbury Tales

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