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A Knight's Tale

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Chaucer vs. Hegeland: The Tale Is On


Reading a piece of literature is a lot like meeting a new best friend. You learn all about the characters and their past and present experiences. When a work of art is remade into a movie you have the highest hopes that it will still hold all of those qualities you fell in love with in the literature. Brian Hegeland tried to adapt Geoffrey Chaucer’s classic story “The Knights Tale” into the movie A Knights Tale. However, he failed because he completely re-told a new story. In adapting Heath Ledger as an Arcita’s character he left out Palamon and all the noble qualities that readers connected with that went along with him. Overall, the movie deserves a C in Hegeland’s adaptations of Chaucer’s classic story.

As a viewer who has read “The Knights Tale” you expect a movie based upon it to have all the characters you read about. Hegeland didn’t do this at all he re-told a story and left out one of the most important characters; Palamon. In the film, there is a reviling character against William Thatcher who is supposed to represent Arcatia but Count Adhemar is an antagonist. In the story both Arcatia and Palamon have those antagonist qualities that as a reader you have a hard time choosing between the two. The closest Hegeland came to representing Chaucer’s work is putting a character based upon him in the film. Geoffrey Chaucer is based upon himself in the film he is an exuberant, gambling writer that happens upon William Thatcher. Obviously, as a writer Chaucer wouldn’t write a fictional tale were the person that is supposed to be him is a low life gambler.

Overall, the director did a mediocre job of adapting Chaucer’s classic piece of literature into a film for someone who has read the work of art. As a viewer you don’t receive any sense of what “The Knights Tale” was really about. Palamon’s character was left out and replaced with a stuck up antagonist who didn’t have any redeeming qualities to speak of. If Chaucer had a chance to watch this film he would be appalled that his classic tale is even associated with this film.. “Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your Oxen turned into bouillon cubes.” –John Le Carre.



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