The Canterbury Tales: Novel Summary: The Knight's Tale

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The Knight's Tale

Two friends, Palamon and Arcita, are captured in battle by a duke named Theseus.  They languish in prison together for a while, until they notice the duke's daughter Emily.  They are both consumed with love for her, and vow to do anything to win her favor.  Arcita has the good luck to find favor with a friend of the duke, and so he is released, but exiled from the country. Arcita becomes lovesick in his native country, since he can never see Emily again, and as a result, his appearance and voice change so much that he is able to return to Theseus' country in disguise as a servant, and he uses the name Philostrate. He gains favor with the duke and is made a trusted assistant.  Palamon, meanwhile, has stayed in prison for the years Arcita has been free.  Arcita decides to escape, and while hiding, he comes upon Arcita, and learns of his double life.
The former friends argue until Emily and Theseus see them.  Theseus decides that each man will have a year to assemble an army, and then their two armies will fight, and the winner will get to marry Emily. 
Arcita and Palamon both pray to the gods, and the gods decide to favor Arcita with glory, but Palamon with eventual victory.  Arcita wins the battle, but he is wounded after his victory, and dies several days later.  His last wish is to see that Palamon can marry Emily.  Palamon and Emily marry, and they live a happy life.

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