The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Pratt, John H. "Was Chaucer's Knight Really a Mercenary?" 22 (1987): 8-27.
The campaigns in which the Knight participated are legally crusades in that the Church or Christians are threatened. The Knight seems to have received more than religious satisfaction from his knightly activities, but such remuneration is not unusual for this period when all military men received compensation for their service. The military encounters follow the pattern of those of a knight whose lord commands him to fight in an unjust war. Though the Knight may have served in Turkey, his behavior still falls within the law. None of the Knight's campaigns are against other Christians. Thus the Knight is not a mercenary.
Robertson, D. W., Jr. "The Physician's Comic Tale." 23 (1988): 129-39.
Chaucer carefully alters his sources to create comedy, but these changes also incorporate legal abuses that tell more about the Physician. By having Virginius go home and talk to Virginia before decapitating her, the Physician draws attention to a "love more necessary than justice" (133). The criminal activity the Physician describes deals with maintenance laws and "champarty," which reveals him to be a kind of false physician, and the Host's response to him indicates the Host's confusion with regard to the Physician's nature.
Schless, Howard H. "Pearl's 'Princes paye' and the Law." 24 (1989): 183-85.
The legal language of the phrase "princes paye" from Pearl suggests that the poem is about the dispute "between absolutist and comparative, between New and Old, between divine and human, law" (184).
Storm, Melvin. "Chaucer's Franklin and Distraint of Knighthood." 19 (1984): 162-68.
In his prologue, the Franklin states his desire for his son to be more like the Squire. In fact, the Franklin's wishes this more than "twenty pound worth lond" (682). This remark refers to the process of distraint by which a king could raise an army, knighting all those who held land producing twenty pounds of profit per year. In this light, the Franklin's comments indicate that he values gentillesse more than the monetary possessions required for him or his son to be knighted.