The Canterbury Tales

Emelye's Garden Scene in "The Knight's Tale" and Boccaccio's Teseida

In "The Knight's Tale", Chaucer clearly draws on themes used by other writers, and is particularly influenced by the work of Giovanni Boccaccio. In Boccaccio's Teseida dell Nozze d'Emilia, he creates the character of Emilia, with whom the Theban brothers Arcites and Palaemon fall in love. In "The Knight's Tale", Chaucer introduces his version of the love interest Emelye in the garden scene. In a comparison between this scene, found in Part I of "The Knight's Tale", and Boccaccio's Teseida, readers can examine the differences between the manner in which the two authors characterize the woman in question. Whereas Boccaccio gives Emilia depth and introduces her as a main character, Chaucer provides considerably less detail regarding Emelye, thereby deemphasizing her importance in the work and underscoring the significance of the two brothers and their interactions.

In "The Knight's Tale", featured in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Chaucer tells his own version of Boccaccio's Teseida. Though the basic plot is the same, Chaucer is very selective in what he chooses to tell his audience. In the Oxford Guides to Chaucer, Helen Cooper notes that "'The...

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