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The most noble pilgrim described in Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” “"There was a Knight, a most distinguished man …“ Geoffrey Chaucer.

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Presentation on theme: "The most noble pilgrim described in Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” “"There was a Knight, a most distinguished man …“ Geoffrey Chaucer."— Presentation transcript:

1 The most noble pilgrim described in Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” “"There was a Knight, a most distinguished man …“ Geoffrey Chaucer

2  Chaucer begins presenting the characters in The Canterbury Tales by describing the Knight.  The Knight is the only member of the aristocracy described by Chaucer at the beginning of his narrative poem.  The knight's tale, composed in 1386, is the first tale of the poem, and is considered the first "novel" ever written: in it Chaucer's description of the Knight is more realistic than in others written down in the next centuries.

3  A medieval knight had to respect a lot of noble values that formed the Code of Chivalry, examined by Chaucer in the first verses of the tale.  The most important value that the knight had to respect was the loyalty to his lord: in fact Chaucer's knight had never given up in battle since his first day he had fought.  Other values the Knight had to respect were: honour, generosity, courtesy, prowess and freedom; they are properly listed by Chaucer in the first part of the tale.

4  The Knight usually fought with several weapons, but in the pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral neither he nor his son, his squire, brought any weapons, because they respected another important value: the devotion.  He went on pilgrimage to thank God for his health and for his victories in battles, duels and in the Crusades.  He was rich, but he didn't want to be considered rich by other pilgrims, so he wasn't gaily dressed. An unarmed knight (reconstruction)

5  Chaucer describes the Knight's clothes: they seem less noble, but they were very helpful for the protection of the body.  He wore an old coarse tunic, made of fustian, composed by wool and cotton. This tunic was dark and had also stained, torn and smudge parts.  It was low-priced and it was produced in the Flanders.  The Knight wore also a bismotered gipoun, that was a tight- fitting jacket he wore under the armour and it was laced on the back or the sides.

6  It was sometimes decorated with heraldic symbols and it was considered unchivalric because it was dirty, as described by Chaucer.  The Knight was "bismotered", because he was rich and noble but he refused the noble appearance.  The Knight wore also an habergeoun, a mail coat he used to protect his chest from violent strikes. It also was always stained and dirty. An armed knight (reconstruction)

7 Fustian Tunic Gipoun Habergeoun

8  Chaucer composed this description mixing a lot of literary elements designing the character as a shining knight and, at the same time, a very devout pilgrim.  The stains and the rusted armour want only to highlight his social status and his exploits.  This knight wanted to appear very modest: in fact he wore no swore belt or other arms and all the garments presented take an allegorical role, literary element frequently used by the autors of the Middle Age.

9 Tiziano Guglielmi & Luigi Campolieti


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