Compare And Contrast The Kngiht And The

Squire Essay, Research Paper

Compare and Contrast the Kngiht and the Squire

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 K

ght 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 genuin

and 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.

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 disti

uished 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 appare

is 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 gallantry

never partakes in such nonsense. He is by far the most chivalrous and


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-hearted

n his pursuits. Unfortunately, the reasons for becoming a cavalier

are self-seeking and egotistical in the Squire’s case opposed to the selfless


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.


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