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9 - Yuuki

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales "The Knight's Tale"


Narrator: Long ago in ancient Greece a great king named Theseus who ruled over Athens, he
married an Amazonian warrior queen Hyppolyta and they brought her sister Emelye back with
him to Athens. In the neighboring city of Thebes, the evil king Creon is conquering the city. King
Theseus & his people met a group of women kneeling in front of Theseus and weep. They beg
King Theseus to take vengeance on King Creon.

King Theseus: Why are you women weeping?!

Athenian Lady 1: Your Majesty! Our husbands have been killed in Thebes!

Athenian Lady 2: He has dishonored our husbands by refusing to bury or cemate their bodies!

Athenian Lady 3: Creon has come and taken over!

Athenian Lady 4: Please help us, oh Majesty!

King Theseus: I shall go and avenge your husbands!

*battle between Theseus and Creon*

Narrator: After winning the battle, King Theseus returned the bones of the women's husbands
for the funeral rites. King Theseus found two wounded enemy soldiers lying on the battlefield
nearing death. He banished them up and sentenced to a life-long imprisonment in an Athenian

*meanwhile at prison*

Arcite: It’s some trick of Saturn’s.

Palamon: It’s an evil conjunction of planets.

Narrator: The prisoner's named Palamon and Arcite, are cousins and sworn brothers. Their
story will show that joy and suffering are never far apart from one another, and nobody is safe
from disaster. Moreover, when one person's fortunes are up, another person's are down. And
one day in early May *Emelye hums and sing* Emelye, younger sister of the queen, walks in the
garden, gathering flowers.

Palamon: *sees Emelye. Shocked and fell inlove*

Arcite: Cousin, what’s wrong?

Palamon: Is she a woman or a goddess?

Arcite: *sees Emelye. Shocked and fell inlove* If I don’t win her favor I'd much rather die.

Palamon: Is this a joke?!

Arcite: Deadly earnest.

Palamon: I loved her first. You’re bound as a knight to help.

Arcite: I loved her first as a woman! Anyway, love is the supreme law. It’s each man for himself.

Narrator: They argue over her, but eventually realize the futility of such a struggle when neither
can ever leave the prison. Until one day, a duke named Protheseus, friend both to Theseus and
Arcite petitioned for Arcite's freedom. Theseus agrees on the condition that Arcite shall be
exiled permanently from pain of death. He got released but denied the one thing he wanted,
the sight of Emelye.

Arcite: *talks to himself* I’ve been exiled from Athens and I’ll never get to see her again. I’m
out of the prison but Palamon is there, nevertheless, he can still see her.

Narrator: Sleep, meat, wine. He couldn’t face any of it. The whole chance wouldn’t have known
him. In fact, he was so different, he then realized that he could safely return to Athens. He
landed himself a job as Emelye’s page, this puts him close to Emelye but not close enough.

Palamon: *talks to himself* Arcite is free. He can go see my love, Emelye. But I’m stuck with
this prison *sigh*

Narrator: Palamon spent 6 years in utter torment. In the 7th year, Palamon has managed to
escape from prison. He takes shelter in a grove of trees not far from the palace. That very day,
Arcite happens to go walking in that same grove. Palamon doesn't recognize him at first
because of his disguise. When Arcite begins to speak of his love for Emily...

*meanwhile in a grove of trees*

Arcite: *talks to himself* Do I go home and help my people or stay in Athens with my one true
love? Ugh.

Palamon: Arcite! You traitor! You trick the king into believing that you were a servant to stay
with my love, Emelye! Die! or admit you do not love Emelye!
Arcite: If you weren't sick with love I'd... I should return here tomorrow with armor, slay me
and you shall have Emelye.

*next day... battle between Palamon and Arcite*

Narrator: At the same time King Theseus, his queen, and Emelye are out hunting in the forest.
And suddenly they found the two knights fighting each other.

King Theseus: Who are you men, that dare to fight here! Who?! Name yourselves!

Palamon: *kneels down* Palamon, sir. Your prisoner who loves Emelye.

Arcite: *kneels down* Arcite, sir. Banished from this land who also loves Emelye.

King Theseus: You shall both pay the penalty in full.

Queen Hyppolyta: Have mercy lord. For all the woman’s sake.

King Theseus: There’s no fool like a fool inlove. But Emily, she can’t marry both of you, even if
you fought forever, so this is my judgement. One year after you will have a duel. Bring your best
armor, your best men, and whoever wins will get the hand of Emelye.

Narrator: And the morning before the duel, Palamon rose to make his devotions to Venus.

Palamon: *kneels down and prays to Venus* Dear Venus, goddess of love, I pray to you, not
just to win the battle, but to win Emelye’s heart.

Narrator: In the pure water of Diana's temple, Emelye is doing her ritual.

Emelye: Oh dear Diana, you know I wish only to remain virgin all my life, make peace between
the knights.

Diana: My daughter, you shall be wedded to one of those who has endured so much wait.

Narrator: Arcite went to the temple of Mars.

Arcite: Mars, god of war, help me with this vow *raises sword* give me victory tomorrow, mine
will be the blood, yours the glory!

Mars: Victory will be yours.

Narrator: Who could imagine this all of strife that put up between Venus and Mars.

Mars: I think Jupiter could do about Saturn.

Saturn: Grandchildren! My planet’s force is greater than any man knows, mine is the drowning
in the sea, mine in the tightening in the throat! So no more! Palamon shall have his lady, Mars
shall assist his knight.

*the duel*

Narrator: After much feasting, the spectators assemble in the stadium. The magnificent armies
enter, appealing evenly matched.

King Theseus: The battle ceases when either knight is taken to the stakes, or fell in their seat.

Narrator: The battle begins, and many captives are taken. The fighting is fierce on both sides.

*someone blows trumpet*

Narrator: Though Palamon fights valiantly, Arcite sees his chance and brings Palamon to the
stakes, he claims him with a sword at his throat. Emelye rejoices as King Theseus proclaims
Arcite victorious.

*Palamon is captured*

King Theseus: Arcite wins the battle!

Venus: *weeping* Im ashamed in front of you all.

Saturn: Venus don’t weep. I, Saturn will make sure that Palamon wins Emelye’s heart.

Narrator: At Saturn's request, the earth shakes beneath Arcite as he rides toward King Theseus.
The knight's horse throws him, crushing his chest. Gravely wounded, the company transports
Arcite to bed, where physicians attempt in vain to heal him. Despite crushing his chest pretty
hard, everyone is sure that Arcite will recover.

*Arcite fell from the horse wounded with blood*

Narrator: That night the people of Athens celebrate the upcoming marriage of Emelye and
Arcite. But Arcite doesn't recover. He dies with Emelye and Palamon at his bedside, using his
last breath to tell Emelye what a great man Palamon is.

Arcite: *dying* Emelye, I’m dying, I need you to be happy, please, after I’m gone, remember my
cousin, a great man, Palamon.
Narrator: Everyone mourned over Arcite’s death. None the more than Palamon and Emelye.
King Theseus arranges a fancy funeral for Arcite, after which Palamon returns to Thebes in
mourning. He doesn't stay in Thebes very long. King Theseus's counselors want an alliance
between Athens and Thebes, and think that a marriage between Palamon and Emelye would be
just the thing. Theseus gives a speech about how death is a part of God's plan for the world. At
the end, he recommends that Palamon and Emelye marry.

King Theseus: *holds Emelye and Palamon’s hand* Why are you both still grieving over Arcite’s
death? Every man must live and die, life is a journey through woe that at some point, should
come to an end. God ordains that all must die, and refusal to accept death is therefore folly.
Cease this mourning and you may marry each other.

Narrator: They obey, and as they realize the wisdom of King Theseus's advice over many years,
Emelye and Palamon lived out their lives in wealth and health, and enjoy a long, loving, and
happy marriage.