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A Knight's Tale Vs. Middle English Reality

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Lindsey Paulsen

on 9 November 2012

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Transcript of A Knight's Tale Vs. Middle English Reality

Knights Clergy Nobles Peasants Monarchy Wat, Roland, and William all begin as peasants in A Knight's Tale. They are ranked at the bottom of society and are fairly poor. Social Classes in Middle English Times This portrayal of peasants is accurate, but incomplete.

Peasants in Middle English times were mostly farmers and were forced to hunt for food in the winter. They fended for them selves year-round, and answered to those who were in a higher social ranking. While William, a peasant, poses as a noble knight in the movie, it never was recorded that a peasant attempted to pull this off in actual Middle English times. In A Knight’s Tale, the knights shown in the movie were all noble knights who competed in jousting matches. According to squire Roland, “you have to be of noble birth to compete,” which was untrue in most cases. Most jousting was done by knights who were not yet considered noble, but we'll get to that later. A knight in Middle English times was basically a soldier. They were men of combat who followed the Code of Chivalry and mainly rode on horseback. Foot soldiers and archers were also considered knights. The road to knighthood was lengthy and challenging. Young boys were sent off at ages as young as seven years old to train and grow into apprentice knights, or squires. Until being knighted, these squires were still considered peasants. This is like William in A Knight’s Tale. His father was forced to send him off to apprentice noble knight, Sir Ector. At 20 years old, William was still a peasant squire. Therefore, they portrayed the pathway to knighthood correctly, but did not fully portray knighthood itself, in terms of combat and service to their lords. After a squire proves himself worthy through honor and warfare, he may be knighted by a member of the monarchy.


What is the knighting ceremony like?

It was carried out correctly in A Knight's Tale, but I will show you again, just for fun. Nobles in A Knight's Tale were all born into nobility and noble knights were the only ones who could compete in jousting matches Nobles had important-sounding titles, such as Duke, Count, or Baron. Those born into nobility weren't usually all that important, though. Ones who'd earned nobility usually earned it through service to their homelands, as knights did. Many philosophers earned nobility through the knowledge and ideas they shared. This being stated, not all nobles were born that way. Roland states that "you must be noble to compete" in jousting, but like I said before, this is untrue. You only had to be a knight to compete in jousting matches. Jousting served as practice and strength training for knights to stay in shape for battle, as well as entertainment and a sport. The people involved in the church weren't focused on much in A Knight's Tale, but they were shown in various scenes, shush-ing and scolding characters for acting improperly in cathedrals. They even scold Jocelyn, a noble woman. The Middle English Clergy members were Bishops, Priests, Monks, or anyone who carried out deeds for the church. They were just as respected as noble people. This means that they may have yelled at a noble woman like Jocelyn, yelling in the cathedral, but it would've been seen as uncalled for. The royal member who knights William in A Knight's Tale is Edward, the Black Prince. He was shown in the movie as powerful and honorable. He competes in jousting and was the son of Edward III of England. These are all true facts of the real Prince Edward. People of his social ranking could also knight men. Therefore, A Knight's Tale portrayed their monarchy figure accurately. For the most part, A Knight's Tale portrayed the social classes of Middle English times quite accurately, but failed to recognize many of the important aspects of each character's status. To Conclude... Works Cited: Ferguson, Wallace K. and Geoffrey Bruun. A Survey of European Civilization. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969. Print.
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