Article Analysis of Was Chaucer's Knight Really a Mercenary by John H. Pratt

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Chelsea Sawaya
Dr. Mulryan
4/23/13
Article Essay

Was Chaucer’s Knight Really a Mercenary by John H. Pratt
For my scholarly article, I chose to read Was Chaucer’s Knight Really a Mercenary by John Pratt. Throughout the article, Pratt discusses Terry Jones’s belief that the Knight was a mercenary rather than a crusader. In Jones’s “problematic analysis” he leaves many questions unanswered, which Pratt answers in his article.

According to Pratt, Jones’s is missing a major point by not considering Chaucer’s knight in the context of the ideals knighthood in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Pratt feels as though before Jones is able to make a claim he needs to consider each angle. For example, “scholars believe Chaucer suggested that the knight had a distinguished military career through references to specific battles, sieges, campaigns, and combats.” However, Jones disagrees because he believes that Chaucer places his Knight in Spain against royal policy. Jones continues with more facts, but Pratt thinks the truth is not so extreme. This is hard to determine because scholars are not positive about amount of military knowledge Chaucer knew about these events. Scholars might be able to look at what Chaucer’s contemporaries were saying about fighting during this time period, but there actually are very few records about the battles. Jones continues his argument by explaining that during the Crusades, Chaucer’s Knight was sent to battle against illegally defined enemies of the church. The Knight’s motives were sometimes questionable according to Jones, mainly because he was paid. However, the Knight was not always to blame for this because he was caught in a predicament of either fighting in an unholy battle or not listening to his Lord.

Surprisingly, Pratt does agree with Jones about how Chaucer says that the Knight will basically fight for anybody, essentially making him a mercenary. In conclusion, Pratt states that he does not believe Chaucer meant...
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