Imperfect Heroes and the Consolations of Boethius

Imperfect Heroes and the Consolations of Boethius

Camarda, Peter F.

Medieval Forum Vol.1 (2002)


This paper examines an ambiguity in Chaucer’s vision of passionate love in The Knight’s Tale. The tale is usually seen as a courtly romance: the characters suffer in the name of a romantic, pagan love and the resolution appears to turn around the issue of marriage and physical consummation. This paper argues that Boethian ideas provide a counter-argument to the courtly perspective. For Boethius, passionate love is a false ideal, and Chaucer’s treatment of Arcite’s and Palamon’s romantic suffering, when examined closely, suggests a Boethian theme of renouncing carnal passion and trusting instead to “stable faith” in the Christian God.

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