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Dying and the Tragedy of Occupation: “The Knight’s Tale”

Dying and the Tragedy of Occupation: “The Knight’s Tale”

Chapter:
(p.107) Chapter Six Dying and the Tragedy of Occupation: “The Knight’s Tale”
Source:
Arts of Dying
Author(s):
D. Vance Smith
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226641041.003.0007

Chaucer's omission of the fate of Arcite's soul in "The Knight's Tale" (from his source in Boccaccio) hints at the underlying problem of unknowing in the face of death in all three Chaucerian texts discussed here. Theseus purportedly theorizes the necessity of death, but the neatness of his theory demonstrates why death cannot adequately be theorized, and the Knight's tactic of narrative dilation—occupatio—simultaneously keeps the question of real death at bay and hints at its interminable nature.

Keywords:   Chaucer, Boccaccio, rhetoric, occupatio

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