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The Knights Tale As Politics: The Good Rule Of The Community

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Chapter Summary

For medieval writers such as Boccaccio, Laurent de Premierfait and John Lydgate, Duke Theseus was, at least at the time of the events recounted by Chaucer's in the 'Knight's Tale', a noble knight and a model prince. Yet, the portrayal of Theseus in the 'Knight's Tale' has oft en been read in a more negative light. Here, Chaucer is seen as depicting not only the duke's shortcomings in terms of his ethics as an individual or as a head of household but also as exposing his failings as a ruler in time of peace and as a military leader in time of war. Rather than being an ideal prince, Chaucer's Theseus seems to be 'Renaissance machiavel' who is motivated by his own 'will to power' rather than by the pursuit of the common good.

Keywords: Chaucer; Duke Theseus; Knight's Tale; medieval political ideas

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