The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Middleton, Anne. "The Modern Art of Fortifying: Palamon and Arcite as Epicurean Epic." 3 (1968): 124-43.
Dryden's attempt to change the Knight's Tale into an epic is unsuccessful. He removes the very things, particularly the narrator's occasional lapses of tone, which Chaucer included to prevent the reader from seeing this tale as an epic. Dryden emphasizes love and arms and focuses on the visual arts, attempting to present a "speaking picture" (126). Instead of leaving the changes Chaucer made to his sources by making Palamon and Arcite similar, Dryden recasts them to make Arcite the warrior and Palamon the lover so that he could have a conflict between love and war. Also, Dryden alters the characterization of the gods so that they become human, no longer detached powers. The changes Dryden makes to Chaucer's tale hide its heroic theme. In addition, the alterations in the deathbed scene modify the tale to such an extent that the reader cannot see the events from a "Chaucerian distance" (140). In the end, he sacrifices "heroic trappings to the truth of the story" (143).
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.