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The Walking Dead in Chaucer's Knight's Tale

The Walking Dead in Chaucer's Knight's Tale The Walking Dead in Chaucer's Knight's Tale sachi shimomura Palamon and Arcite, the lovesick heroes of Chaucer's Knight's Tale, live in a stasis that they themselves perceive. For them, that stasis lies not in their perpetual imprisonment by Theseus, but in their suspended love affairs with Emelye. Prisoners of love even beyond their political status as prisoners of war, they languish together "in angwissh and in wo" (I 1030).1 The pair's initial narrative appearances bring them to the verge first of physical death, and then of frustrated romance: liminal situations that compromise their sense of identity. They first emerge in the tale as casualties of Theseus's war against Thebes, hidden within a pile of dead bodies, where they too appear as bodies without character or living identity: wounded, but with no details on the origins of those wounds; paired together by their coats of arms, but with no revealed history of their connectedness or common origins. In this sense, they are the walking dead: "Nat fully quyke, ne fully dede they were" (I 1015). When taken to Theseus and sentenced to life imprisonment, their story peters out before it has really begun; then, one May morning, they each http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Chaucer Review Penn State University Press

The Walking Dead in Chaucer's Knight's Tale

The Chaucer Review , Volume 48 (1) – Jul 10, 2013

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1528-4204
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Abstract

The Walking Dead in Chaucer's Knight's Tale sachi shimomura Palamon and Arcite, the lovesick heroes of Chaucer's Knight's Tale, live in a stasis that they themselves perceive. For them, that stasis lies not in their perpetual imprisonment by Theseus, but in their suspended love affairs with Emelye. Prisoners of love even beyond their political status as prisoners of war, they languish together "in angwissh and in wo" (I 1030).1 The pair's initial narrative appearances bring them to the verge first of physical death, and then of frustrated romance: liminal situations that compromise their sense of identity. They first emerge in the tale as casualties of Theseus's war against Thebes, hidden within a pile of dead bodies, where they too appear as bodies without character or living identity: wounded, but with no details on the origins of those wounds; paired together by their coats of arms, but with no revealed history of their connectedness or common origins. In this sense, they are the walking dead: "Nat fully quyke, ne fully dede they were" (I 1015). When taken to Theseus and sentenced to life imprisonment, their story peters out before it has really begun; then, one May morning, they each

Journal

The Chaucer ReviewPenn State University Press

Published: Jul 10, 2013

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