The Canterbury Tales

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The knight Character Analysis

The unnamed knight in the Wife of Bath’s tale is a foolish, overly lusty bachelor who breaks the code of chivalry when he rapes a maiden in the woods. He is sent by the queen on a quest to learn his lesson. Once he proves himself by discovering the answer to the question of what women want and then by answering the old woman’s question correctly (that is, by letting her decide), he is rewarded by getting to have his cake and eat it too: the old woman turns into a beautiful and faithful wife.

The knight Quotes in The Canterbury Tales

The The Canterbury Tales quotes below are all either spoken by The knight or refer to The knight. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Satire Theme Icon
).
The Wife of Bath’s Tale Quotes

Wommen desiren to have sovereynetee
As wel as over hir housbond as hir love
And for to been in maistrie hym above.

Related Characters: The Knight (speaker), The knight

For gentilesse nys but renomee
Of thyne auncestres, for hire heigh bountee,
Which is a strange thing to thy persone.
Thy gentilesse cometh fro God alone.
Thanne comth our verray gentilesse of grace;
It was no thing biquethe us with our place.

Related Characters: The old woman (speaker), The knight
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The knight Character Timeline in The Canterbury Tales

The timeline below shows where the character The knight appears in The Canterbury Tales. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Wife of Bath’s Tale
Social Satire Theme Icon
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
A lusty young knight in Arthur’s court is riding through the forest when he spies a beautiful maid. Overcome... (full context)
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
The knight sets forth sorrowfully through the countryside and asks the question of every woman he meets.... (full context)
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
The day comes when the knight must return to court. As he is riding past the forest, he sees a group... (full context)
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
The knight and the old woman go to court, where a large audience of the queen and... (full context)
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
At that moment, the old woman comes forward and demands that the knight marry her. The knight recoils in horror, begging her to take his possessions instead of... (full context)
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
While they are in bed, the old woman asks the knight why he is so despondent, and the knight replies that he is repulsed by her... (full context)
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
The old woman gives the knight a choice. She can remain ugly but faithful and virtuous; or she can be beautiful,... (full context)
Courtly Love and Sexual Desire Theme Icon
Writing and Authorship Theme Icon
Since the knight gives her the authority to choose for herself, the old woman says that she will... (full context)