Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale" and the Limits of Human Order in the Pagan World (Hardback)
  • Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale" and the Limits of Human Order in the Pagan World (Hardback)

Chaucer's "The Knight's Tale" and the Limits of Human Order in the Pagan World (Hardback)

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Hardback Published: 01/10/2008
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This work explains Chaucer's understanding of the moral philosophies set forth by pagan and Christian doctrines. Chaucer's "A Knight's Tale" is primarily a poem about the world, symbolized by Athens, based upon ancient ideals of philosophy, politics, and, ultimately, theology, in which men who try to act upon these ideals find themselves in crises that undermine the very ideals in which they have placed their confidence. This failure emphasizes the pagan misunderstanding of the nature of the world, implicitly a misunderstanding that can be rectified only by Christianity. Hence, Chaucer's tale is placed squarely within the context of the Christian pilgrimage of "The Canterbury Tales".The study of Chaucer's plan for approaching and understanding this deficient world follows involves five major points: first, the medieval interest in classical thought; second, the presence in the poem of the pagan concerns for heroism, fame, virtue, and immortality, all contributing to the ancient search for the best life; third, Chaucer's use of allegory; fourth, the ordering of Athens in accordance with the classical concept of order (chiefly the order of the soul); and, the fifth, the collapse of that order, underscoring the deficiencies of classical antiquity mirrored in its failure. In pursuing this train of thought, Chaucer does not merely dismiss paganism as ungodliness, but rather offers an analysis of its virtues - those of order and love - and shows how they might be more fully realized within the order of Christendom.

Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd
ISBN: 9780773450592

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