The word chivalry originates from French “Chivalier” which means “horseman” or “knight” Chivalry love is therefore love attitude identifiable with the knight of the medieval Europe. Chivalry referred to the military code of behaviour and had very little to do with romantic love, but more of gallantry. It also meant that a knight was loyal, courteous, protective, honourable and gentle. They have respect for women. A knight is expected to keep himself for the sake of the woman he loves and the love affair should remain a secret.
Courtly love was practiced in medieval European era, at a time when knights set out on adventures and performances of various services for ladies because of love. It was experienced between erotic desire and spiritual attainment. Courtly love was developed in the castle life of four regions: Aquitiane, Provence, Champagne and ducal Burgundy at the time of provincial lordships in the 18th century by the members of the courts. This kind of love disregards marital limits and goes with great level of jealousy.
In “Then Knight’s Tale” there is obviously a display of chivalry and courtly love as it is a story of love affairs which occurred in the medieval era. First, Theseus, ruler of Athens showed his compassionate heart towards the women who came to see revenge on the death of their noble husbands. The Duke felt pity and decided to carry out their wish that the killer of their husbands would equally be killed. This led to the destruction of the land of Thebes and the death of Creon the Thebian King.
Arcite and Palamon who eventually became prisoners in Athens saw Emilly through the window and both fell in love with her. As knights, they display the courtly love affection by willing to die for the one they love, they both had the chance to survive the prison pains by returning to their home, but they pursued love in Athens event to the point of death.
Instead of killing Palamon and Arcite, Theseus compassionately gave them chance to marry his sister, Emily. They entered a contest where the winner is allowed to take Emily as wife. Although Arcite fought bravely and subdued Palamon, but Venus the goddess of love was behind Palamon. Suddenly, the ground shook and Arcite fell off his horse, and died. At the end, the Duke gave his sister Emily to Palamon who was able to recover from the injuries sustained during the contest.
Theseus showed compassion to the lamenting women and was not willing to let either Arcite or Palamon die for whatever reason, though they were willing to die for the love of Emile.