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Arts of DyingLiterature and Finitude in Medieval England$
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D. Vance Smith

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226640853

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226641041.001.0001

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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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