Analysis of the knight the plowman and the physician in The Cantebury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Essay by bigwilly2006High School, 11th gradeA+, November 2004

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The Great, the Good, and the Greedy

Geoffrey Chaucer's classic, The Canterbury Tales, has great characters in it, which have modern day counterparts. In this poem, all of the characters stand out as pilgrims of the Middle Ages, but also they share traits of certain individuals of contemporary society. The Knight, the Plowman, and the Physician all display characteristics of fire fighters, William R. Worsley, and plastic surgeons in the modern day.

The Knight built his character around loyalty to his king and performing all good deeds including being chivalrous and courteous to all. During the Prologue, characteristics such as these illustrate the recollection of the Knight by the narrator. The narrator remembers him so well because of these great qualities as well as his other uniqueness. In the rest of the portrayal the narrator describes the character as "a true, perfect, gentle knight" (72) and one who "bore himself as meekly as a maiden; never in all his life had he been rude to anyone at all" (69-71).

The Knight fights courageously "[winning] the highest honor" (67) all the time. Through this account the reader finds that this character "was not gaily dressed" (74), but wore a "tunic, much stained by his hauberk" (75-76). Hauberk, "the long coat of mail of the European Middle Ages" (, shields a knight of that time. The Knight's clothing, virtues, and morals create an obvious typical Middle Age knight. The classic Middle Age knight transforms into a fire fighter in our modern society. Courageous fire fighters wage wars against flaming, killing fires everyday. The bravery to run into a blazing building while others scurry away creates the parallel between the Middle Age knights and the present time fire fighters. Parallelism continues beyond this though fire fighters do this daily with loyalty...