Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Marti, Kevin

Second Advisor

Verner, Lisa

Third Advisor

Gonzalez, Daniel


The people of the Middle Ages believed animals were disconnected from themselves in terms of ability to reason and ability to resist passions. Humans and animals were created by God, but he bestowed man with a soul and the ability to resist earthly delights. When men were described in terms of their bestial counterparts it was conventionally meant to highlight some derogatory aspect of that character. Chaucer makes use of the animal-image throughout The Canterbury Tales, especially in "The Knight's Tale," to stress a break in each character from humane reason or to emphasize a lean towards a bestial nature. The degree of this departure is showcased in the ferocity of the animal-image in question and the behavior and nature of the character, i.e. the animals of a more timid nature or neutral standing highlight a much less negative nature than the ferocious predators present in the battle scenes.


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