The Canterbury Tales

In what way is Diana's Temple important in the Knight’s Tale, and what concerns does its description serve to raise for this romance and its purported ideals?

Not why is Diana's Temple important to Emily, but rather why is this essential to the story?

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This is the translation of the pledge Emily gives to the goddess Diana at the temple. Her reason for making the pilgrimage is to pledge herself and her virginity to the goddess.

"O thou chaste goddess of the wildwood green, By whom all heaven and earth and sea are seen, Queen of the realm of Pluto, dark and low, Goddess of maidens, that my heart dost know. For all my years, and knowest what I desire, Oh, save me from thy vengeance and thine ire. That on Actaeon fell so cruelly. Chaste goddess, well indeed thou knowest that I desire to be a virgin all my life, Nor ever wish to be man's love or wife. I am, thou know'st, yet of thy company, virgin, who loves the hunt and venery, and to go rambling in the greenwood wild, And not to be a wife and be with child. I do not crave the company of man. Now help me, lady, since thou may'st and can, By the three beings who are one in thee. For Palamon, who bears such love to me, And for Arcita, loving me so sore, This grace I pray thee, without one thing more,

To send down love and peace between those two, And turn their hearts away from me: so do That all their furious love and their desire, And all their ceaseless torment and their fire Be quenched or turned into another place;

And if it be thou wilt not show this grace, Or if my destiny be moulded so

That I must needs have one of these same two, Then send me him that most desires me. Behold, O goddess of utter chastity, The bitter tears that down my two cheeks fall. Since thou art virgin and keeper of us all,

My virginity keep you, and still preserve, And while I live as a virgin, you will I serve."

The significance of Emily's visit is found in the goddess's appearance and her declaration that Emily will not remain a virgin, nor is it expected of her. her destiny is to go on and marry the one she is meant for although that man is not revealed.

"My daughter, leave this heaviness.

Among the high gods it has been affirmed,

And by eternal written word confirmed,

That you shall be the wife of one of those

Who bear for you so many cares and woes;

But unto which of them may not tell."