The Canterbury Tales: The Perfect Love


The Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer around 1386, is a
collection of tale told by pilgrims on a religious pilgrimage. Three of these
tales; "The Knight\'s Tale", "The Wife of Bath\'s Tale", and "The Franklin\'s Tale",
involve different kinds of love and different love relationships. Some of the
loves are based on nobility, some are forced and some are based on mutual
respect for each partner. My idea of love is one that combines aspects from each
of the tales told in The Canterbury Tales.
In "The Knights Tale", the love between the two knights and Emily is
intensely powerful. The love that Palomon and Arcite feel towards Emily is so
strong that the two knights feel that it is worth more than life. At one point
Palomon says to Arcite, " Though I have no weapon here . . . either you shall
die or you shall not love Emily." The love that Palomon feels for Emily is so
overwhelming that he is willing to take on an armed man, in mortal combat, just
for the love of a woman. Perhaps he feels that without her he will surely die,
so why not die trying to win her.
The ironic fact about the relationship between the two knights and Emily
is that Emily does not wish to marry either of the knights. she expresses this
in a prayer to Diana, the goddess of chaste, " Well you know that I desire to be
a maiden all my life; I never want to be either a beloved or a wife." This is so
ironic because Arcite and Palomon are about to kill each other for her love and
she doesn\'t want to beloved by either of them. She enjoys the thrills of maiden
hood too much to have them ended by marriage.
While all this is going on, no one stops to think that neither Arcite
nor Palomon has ever even spoken to Emily. When Palomon and Arcite are in jail
Palomon says, " The Beauty of the lady whom I see wandering yonder in the garden
is the cause of all my cries and woes." This is not something That I would want
to base my ideal love on. These two knights are willing to risk their lives for
the love of this woman, whom they have never even met. For all they know she
could be the most annoying person on earth. In that case they would be risking
their lives, only to spend the rest of it with a beautiful and extremely
annoying woman.
In "The Wife of Bath\'s Tale" A knight is forced to marry a wretched old
woman to avoid death. The knight and the old woman do not get along well, and
when the old woman suggests that she can make things better, the knight responds
saying, " Corrected? . . . It will never be corrected! You are so loathsome and
old." A love relationship such as this could never last because their is no
attraction, physical or mental. A major factor in love is physical attraction
between the two partners, here their is no attraction. Two people can not love
each other if they can stand to be around each other. The knight can hardly bare
to look at his wife, let alone sleep with her.
Despite the fact that the knight despises her, the old woman persists on
getting the knight to love her, which actually works in some cases. While the
knight is complaining about how terrible his marriage is the old woman says, "
What am I guilty of? For God\'s sake tell me and it shall be corrected, if I can
manage." After this the old woman continues on convincing the knight that she is
worthy of him and he finally agrees. Sometimes it is necessary to convince the
other person that they love you. The love between the knight and the old woman
started out as a forced relationship and was greatly regretful. But after the
old woman pointed out some good qualities their relationship blossomed into a
beautiful, loving relationship.
My ideal love is best expressed in " The Franklin\'s tale". The love
between the knight and his wife is based greatly on respect. From the very
beginning the knight offers her respect and free will, " He swore to her as a
knight that never . . . would he take an authoritarian role over her . . . nor
show jealousy to her, but would obey her . . . as any lover ought