Geoffrey Chaucer portrayed a cross section of medieval society though The Canterbury Tales. “The Prologue” or foreword of this work serves as an introduction to each of the thirty one characters involved in the tales. Two of these characters are the Kght and the Squire, who share a father and son relation.
These individuals depart on a religious pilgrimage to a cathedral in Canterbury. The Squire, opposed to the Knight, goes for a vacation instead of religious purposes. His intent is not as genuinand pure as his father’s. Though the Knight and the Squire are from the same feudal class and vocation, they differ in the fact that the Knight represents how society should have been; and the Squire depicts an accurate portrayal of how it actually was.Order now
Chivalry, heroism, and modesty delineate the Knight, whose upright standards and principles illustrate a true gentleman; these characteristics are not evident in the Squire. Even though the Knight has won many wars, he is careful not to brag about his ctories. The most recurrent point in the description of the Knight is the abundance and importance of his conquests; however, the Squire’s battles are barely mentioned. While the entirety of the Squire’s battles are summed up in two lines (“he had se some service with the cavalry / In Flanders and Artois and Picardy”), the list of the Knight’s battles dominates his description (Chaucer 120).
The Squire’s battles are not fought in the interest of his chivalry. On the other hand, the Knight is distiuished and chivalrous because of his unconditional devotion. Chaucer admired the valiant and noble Knight above the overbearing Squire.Regarding clothing and appearance, the humble Knight chooses to wear a plain armor and tunic while the Squire frivolously indulges in excesses.
The Squire is an extremely vain individual, taking pains to improve his appearance. His superfluous appareis clean and bright and his hair has “locks as curly as if they had been pressed”(120). This greed for wealth and beauty definitely does not abide by the code of chivalry and is unnecessary for his knighthood. The Knight, more concerned with gallantrynever partakes in such nonsense.
He is by far the most chivalrous and heroic.The Knight’s motivation is based on chivalry and religion, contrasting to the Squire who merely wants to impress the ladies. The Squire wastes time and energy that could be channeled more towards his knightly duties. The real motivation of the Squires not based on chivalry, rather it is the appearance of chivalry he wishes to display.
Chaucer stated that the Knight, “from the day on which he first began / To ride abroad, had followed chivalry”(119). The Knight is utterly sincere and whole-heartedn his pursuits. Unfortunately, the reasons for becoming a cavalier are self-seeking and egotistical in the Squire’s case opposed to the selfless Knight.Despite the fact that the Knight and the Squire share the same class and occupation, the Knight represents the perfect society while the Squire portrays the society of that time.
The Knight is an image that all true knights struggle to be, practicing e chivalrous qualities such as dedication, humility, and honesty. The true and complete knight is unknown. The Squire, on the other hand, is pretentious, shallow, and devious. This is a reflection of not only knights but people of that time.
Chaucer as not merely comparing two knights and depicting virtues of chivalry, but in a grander sense was revealing the corruption of humanity by comparing the difference between the reality of the human race and the ideal of perfection.