The Knight's Tale

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  • Exposition
  • Rising Action
  • Rising Action/ Conflict
  • Theseus had conquered King Creon of Thebes and was camping in forest after battle. He and his army discovered two Theban knights: Arcita and Palamon. Theseus, "decreed they should at once be sent to Athens, and gave order they be kept perpetual prisoners" (Chaucer 46).
  • Rising Action
  • Once imprisoned in a secluded tower, Palamon is bewildered by the beauty of the princess Emily, roaming around the greenery. He instantly falls in love, but is conflicted once Arcita is attracted to her as well: "No, false Arcite! That you shall never do! I loved her first and told my grief to you" ( Chaucer 50).
  • Rising Action
  • Mars whispers: "Victory"
  • *Venus moves slightly*
  • Arcita is freed from prison, but is exiled out of Athens. He is jealous of Palamon's location near Emily, but Palamon is envious of Arcita's accessibility to an army to come back for Emily. Years later, Arcita returns to Thebes unrecognizably skinny and runs into the escaped Palamon; battle breaks out.
  • Climax
  • The King and his royal family go on a hunt and ironically run into the two fighting. After figuring out the dilemma over Emily, the Duke decides the winner of a 100 army war shall be rewarded Emily as their wife. Theseus states that whomever, " can drive his foe to stake, or take his life, to him I shall give Emily to wife" (Chaucer 69).
  • Before their war, Palamon and Arcita pray to the gods for support. Palamon makes a sacrifice to Mars, the God of War, and hears a whisper speak the word "victory." As for Arcita, he approaches the statue of Venus and thinks he sees her move slightly. They both take these as signs of their future glory.
  • The war began between the two Theban cousins. With legendary swordplay, the knights attacked until Palamon had the upper hand with a bloody stab. Subsequently, a soldier of Arcita took his sword and had it, "bite deeply in his flesh; it asked the strength of twenty men to take the yet-unyielded Palamon to stake" ( Chaucer 90). Palamon was on the ground, revealing the victory of Arcita.
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