When we started watching A Knight’s Tale, I honestly didn’t think I was going to enjoy it half as much as I did. However, as the movie progressed, I found myself really getting into it. There was so much in the movie that I wanted to talk about! Over this weekend, I was debating on what to write about for this post, and one of the topics I was considering was actually part of what Emma already wrote about. (Chaucer in the movie vs. him in real life.) So instead, I decided to focus on the similarities and differences of The Knight’s Tale to a knight and queen that I got to know pretty well over the last few weeks. Yep, you guessed it! Lancelot and Queen Guinevere in “The Knight of the Cart.”
Throughout the movie, there were similarities in The Knight’s Tale and in “The Knight of the Cart” that screamed out to me. One of the similarities is obviously William and Lancelot’s knightly attributes. They both are the best of the best. Lancelot was King Arthur’s favorite and best knight of the Round Table, and for a good reason. The Lancelot that I got to read about was pretty much unbeatable. He fought many strong and talented men, and always prevailed in the end. William jousted with many men and would always beat them, which is quite impressive considering he taught himself all of his skills. Another interesting thing shared between the two knights was the fact that neither of them started out as “actual” knights. (Alright, this isn’t actually from my story. I’m basing this from when we watched The First Knight.) Lancelot and William started out extremely poor. They lived their lives day by day, not always knowing where their next meal would come from. Lancelot became a knight by saving Guinevere and William by practicing everyday and winning competition after competition. One part of the movie that was literally identical to the “The Knight of the Cart” was when Jocelyn told William that he could only prove his love to her by purposefully losing; this was exactly the same as when Guinevere told Lancelot to perform badly in the Tournament in which he was participating. Both the ladies then told the men to win at the last moment. Also, as Lizzy pointed out in her blog post, Jocelyn and Guinevere shared many qualities, which I’m sure you all can clearly see. I’ll just say that, yeah, I didn’t particularly like Jocelyn’s character. The last similarity I’ll point out that I found significant is, when William was jousting with Adhemar and was injured quite severely, he found strength when he saw Jocelyn and his father in the audience. This was exactly when Lancelot was fighting Meleagant after he crossed the sword bridge. His injuries were preventing Lancelot from fighting his best, but when he realized Guinevere was watching him, his amazing fighting skills overcame his pain. I guess a theme here could be that love can give you strength in weakest of times, but that would be a whole different topic to discuss for another day.
There were also some major differences between The Knight’s Tale and “The Knight of the Cart” that I found. Something that I found interesting was actually how Lancelot and William came to become knights, Lancelot didn’t particularly desire to be a knight, but just accepted being knighted by King Arthur so he could be with Guinevere. For William, on the other hand, becoming a knight was his biggest aspiration. He worked so hard to learn how to joust so he could “change his path by following his feet.” The main difference that I want to point out, however, is the issue of pride and love. Lancelot’s pride meant almost nothing to him when it came to his love for Guinevere. This is most evident when he rode in the cart to save Guinevere, losing all his pride and honor in the process. However I believe that pride, to William, was more important to him than his love for Jocelyn. No matter how much she begged him to run to avert being arrested, William refused to do so because it would require him to give up his pride. Even when Jocelyn told him to run to save their love, William would not. This shows how, to William, pride is the most important part of his life. This brings up my last point. During class, when Lizzy and I gave our presentation, I think it was Jacob who brought up this interesting perspective of Guinevere. He said that he did not believe that Guinevere actually loved Lancelot by the way she treated and dismissed him. She was angry when he hesitated to get into the cart and disregarded all the other misfortunes he went through to save her. However, in my opinion, Jocelyn really did truly love William by the end of the movie. I could clearly see this when she pleaded with William to run so she wouldn’t have to lose him. This was one part of her that I did like much better that Guinevere.
I really enjoyed The Knight’s Tale, All I can say is, Beowulf is going to have a lot to live up to! 🙂