Chaucer's inclusion of a father-son relationship—represented by the Knight and the Squire—demands an analysis of their inherent connection, their individual characterizations and the themes they represent in their Tales. Each must consciously or subconsciously reveal information about one another or their relationship in their respective tales. Indeed, the differences in the personalities and values of each character are profound. “The Knight's Tale” warns of the dire consequences in valuing courtly love above male bonds; the young, lovesick Squire ripe for falling into a hasty love must be the Knight's intended audience—he seems to tell his tale primarily for his son's edification. “The Knight's Tale” places its focus on dominantly masculine themes—the undisputed importance of male friendship and loyalty, adherence to keeping one's word—along with a male dominated plot and the cause of the fall of the all-important friendship being a woman. On the other hand, the Squire seems to exude more feminine attributes and values. The most coherent portion of his tale portrays the lament of a suicidal, lovelorn falcon and her relationship to the compassionate princess who has acquired the ability to communicate with birds through a magical ring. The Squire's fascination with fantasy, romance, and the exotic—indeed all things outside of his own existence—characterize the Squire as holding classically feminine ideals and characteristics. The success of the female friendship also contrasts with the failure of the males' in his father's tale. The two tales reveal a conscious or unconscious battle between masculine and feminine-centered ideologies—between pragmatism and idealism—and at Chaucer's decision to prematurely end the Squire's tale, he seems to argue the masculine ideology as the superior.
[...] Lesley Kordecki explains how Squire's Tale” “makes blatant the oriental other, the magical other, the fantastical other, the feminine other, and the animal other—all associated in a discourse that skirts the perimeter of masculinist subjectivity, a verbal enterprise exploring these marginal voices” (276-277). The foreign knight brings the presence of other,” the things beyond and outside of the masculine confines of his father's tale. The Squire's absence of a tangible conflict for a male to “hammer and his fascination with qualities of magic opposed to the practical use of such magic reveals his feministic tendencies. [...]
[...] In this tale, the feminine relationship seems to practice the ideals which are supposed to be exemplified in the male friendship—“two men drawn together not by any hope of gain but by similitude and a love of virtue” (Stretter 236). The tales of the Squire and the Knight seem to be at odds with one another. However, this contrast does not seem to be the product of quyting but rather of a psychological divide between father and son. Perhaps this divide comes from simple experience versus youth, but I think that Squire's Tale” is a subconscious rebellion of a son towards his pragmatic father. [...]
[...] Since Arcite's argument rests on love being of a “gretter lawe” than “positif lawe”—human law (the knights' oath)—he places the brotherhood oath in an inferior position and thoroughly separates the once bonded knights as each for himself.” By defying the sacredness of an oath and a male friendship, Arcite pays dearly. Although he wins the tournament against Palamon, he soon dies leaving the wife he never lived to enjoy to Palamon. In doing so, the Knight relates the superiority that male friendship—masculine ideology—should rank above the love of a female and that laws made by men must be followed or else chaos will ensue. [...]
[...] Interestingly, the Squire seems to regain an awareness of his tale and its feminine tendencies when he abandons the story of Canacee and the falcon and claims he will tell tales of “aventures and batailles” now focusing on Cambyuskan's sons and their struggles and loves 659). One of these loves involves the incestuous marriage of Canacee to her own brother which creates a dissonance between the sympathetic voice towards Canacee the Squire held previously and his future intent to allow her to be subjugated; the story of the falcon's warning or enlightening of Canacee now seems forgotten or irrelevant. [...]
[...] Since the betrayal of the knights' oath acts as a catalyst for the immense emotional pain and physical rivalry which ensues, Emelye is positioned as the cause of the conflict, the breaking of the sacred oath of brotherhood and the chaos it causes. By placing a female as the cause of chaos and the breaking of the sacred male bond, the Knight illustrates his preoccupation with masculine ideology and a rejection of feminine. The Knight further admonishes the superlative reverence of male friendships as Arcite the transgressor of the oath and friendship ultimately loses in the story's end. The knights' love for Emelye seems to happen almost simultaneously, giving Arcite and Palamon equal accountability in their switch from friends to enemies. [...]
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