Being forbidden in medieval fiction implies an additional change in the connection of one character to others. In this project, I examine fictional knights who linger in a forbidden space while I nest my reasoning in historical narratives. In doing so, I highlight how anarchy intersects with medieval romanticism and reveal the ideological flaws of chivalry. The Knight of Chaucer is first threatened with death because the knight “should lose his forgiveness” (35). It was the intercession of the ladies and Arthur`s queen, presumably Guinevere, that officially positioned the knight as an outlaw. Chaucer then thwarts readers` expectation that crime will be taken seriously by entering the realm of fantasy. The world outside the law often seems encouraging and offers increased freedom of action and capacity for action. Laura L. Howes traces Chaucer`s experience with the land and how his knowledge of England`s forests shapes his depictions of late medieval landscapes. Howes asserts that his “first-hand knowledge of the possessions of John of Ghent and the entertainment and parks of King Edward III is correlated, among other things, with poetic depictions in the Poultry Parliament and in stories told by the knight, the nun`s priest, the forgiver, Bath`s wife and his brother” (Howes 125). In WBT, the Chaucer Forest is a place for social outcasts, as it is home to outlaws and physical decrepits. The nameless knight meets the old woman as he returns home “under a forest cyde,” and she sits “on the green” (990).
It is described by the narrator as so odious that “A tread wight ther may no man devyse” (999) The strangeness of the old woman – who was later considered a shapeshifter – seems to refer in part to the forest she inhabits. The forest is home to the excluded from society and therefore operates according to rules and expectations very different from those of the legal system. This link was a literary convention when Chaucer was writing in the fourteenth century. Constantine`s pupil, Johannes Afflacius, developed Viaticum in the Liber manuscript of heros morbo in order to articulate a medical and professional term for the passionate nobility. But excessive love or heartache can occur in circumstances where aristocratic men wield excessive power over women and create fears of retaliation. Marie E. Wack points out that even Christine de Pisan, who elsewhere eloquently shows the suffering inflicted on women by patriarchal culture, “advocates obedient submission among husbands who can be brutally violent” (Wack 167). The conventions of courtteral literature and medieval romanticism, despite the circulation of stories in which women temporarily or symbolically take power and reverse hierarchical arrangements, embody a strong medieval sense of hierarchy in which man`s place was at the top. In KnT, the military excellence of Arcite and Palamon and the episodes of violence show another aspect of the outlaw as a knight knight. .