Description of the Squire
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Throughout “The Canterbury Tales”, clothing and description of a character is a major clue because the outward appearance reflects the character’s morality. In contrast with the pardoner who had unclean yellow hair like a rat’s tail, bulging eyeballs, and a prepubescent voice and body, the squire has “curly hair as if they had been pressed”, “youthfully handsome”, and “fresh as the month of may”. He has a short red and white gown with “sleeves long and wide”, which is “embroidered like a meadow bright”. His clothing shows that he is lowly and serviceable yet courteous and honorable, like a squire should be.
The squire is also described as a about “20 years of age”, “lover and cadet”, a “lad of fire”, one who has “wonderful agility and strength”, and is compared to flowers. He is a great singer, a great athlete, and a great scholar. He “knew how to joust and dance, to draw and write”, and was an all around well rounded person. It could also be said that he was fond of women because “He loved to hotly that till dawn grew pale” and “slept as little as a nightingale”. This is one of Chaucer’s ideal characters because there is no flaw with him. He is everything a squire should be.
The word squire comes from the Latin word scutarius which means shield bearer. A squire was a young man who aspired to be in the rank of a knight and served an existing knight as his attendant or shield carrier. In other words, he is the apprentice of a knight. He helps his knight put on his armor, trains daily, and is an all around servant for his knight. In Medieval times, a knight’s armor consisted of many small parts so the he can move with more mobility. Due to this fact, the squire had an important task.
If this book were made into a movie, I would choose Viggo Mortensen as the squire. He starred in “The Lord of the Rings” series, and I felt that he did a good job. He looks athletics, is youthfully handsome, and curly hair.
“He was embroidered like a meadow bright
And full of freshest flowers, red and white.
Singing he was, fluting all the day;
He was as fresh as is the month of May.”
These lines compare the squire to spring, which is intentionally done by Chaucer to illustrate the squire’s high spirits and energy.
“He’d seen some service with the chivalry
In Flanders and Artois and Picardy
And had done valiantly with little space
Of time, in hope to win his lady’s grace”
These lines illustrate the life of a squire. Flanders, Artois, and Picardy are old cities of France, which states the this squire and moved around a bit and fought. The mention of “his lady’s grace” illustrates the medieval tradition of fighting for a lady.