3 손병용  로망스의 정치성: 「기사 이야기」를 중심으로    Medieval and Early Modern English Studies Volume 22 No. 2 (2014)     61 ~ 81 
   [Son Byeong-yong: The Political Nature of Romance: Focusing on Knight’s Tale]

This study aims to grasp the meaning of political nature of the medievalromance. The romance has a paradigm that the knight rides out to seek anadventure. Northrop Frye says that romance has superior characters and anarchetype that support the contemporary social structure. Often, romanceprovides its reader or audience with the nostalgia for the past to provoke ameaningful challenge to the present. Frederic Jameson has an interest on whatfor Frye is a deformation or deviation from the archetype of romance. He thinksthat romance has a historical and ideological context, and reflects a particularideological context. Geraldine Heng recognizes romance as “the name ofdesiring narrational modality that coalesces from the extant cultural matrix.”She stresses on an expansive meaning of romance as “the material concretionof the collective will of cultural agents and forces.”From these perspectives, I try to focus on Knight Tale and examine thepolitical context of Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of the Tale. He was a son ofrich merchant and served as an bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. He wentthrough a period of turbulence in England in 14th century. Treacherousbehavior was punished severly. Writing and even talking against the royalfamily were punished. In this context, Chaucer was very cautious to reveal hisown political message. Therefore, to lessen the burden and avoid a politicalcontroversy, he appropriated and transformed the convention of romance.
The adventure that romance knight seeks to carry out and achieveself-examination is not given to Palamon and Arcite. The idealized love ofromance between knight and his lady has no interactive relationship. Instead,Theseus, who reminds Edward Ⅲ according to Derek Brewer, is represented asmerciful and powerful king. He shows mercy to begging ladies and defeats OldCreon. However, he imprison Palamon and Arcite, and never intends to setthem free. After Palamon and Arcite come out of prison and fight in the forest,he makes a suggestion of tournament for winner to get Emilye, but hissuggestion causes a great misfortune, Arcite’s death. Theseus turns the criticismtoward the Providence of God and arranges the marriage between Palamon andEmilye. He first considers the allegiance with other countries and security of hiskingdom, and orders them to marry. Regardless of their intentions, Palamonand Emilye get married. The narrator says that they lived in bliss, in richnessand in health. However, this happy ending is an only conventional romanceending. By using and transforming convention of the mode, Chaucer makesPalamon, Arcite, and Emilye victims of romance. Rather, he stresses on Theseusand provides a model of king. Chaucer confidential sends his political messagethat king should use his political ability to tide over a difficult situation andvalue the opinion of Parliament.

Key words: Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Knight’s Tale, Political Nature of Romance