Sunday, 25 January 2009

Short Summary
The squire tells the tale of Cambyuskan, the king of Sarai in Tartary. With his wife Elphita, he has two sons, Algarsyp and Cambalo, and a daughter Canacee. The squire;s tale begins with a mysterious knight arriving at the court of Tartary,while cambyous’s great feast is on with his knights. The knight gives king Cambyuskan a mechanical horse that can transport him anywhere and return him in a day. Cambyuskan’s daughter, canacee is given a mirror that can determine the character of friends or foes, a ring that enables the wearer to understand the language of animal and any bird and healing properties of all herbs. He also offers a sword whose edge can cure any wound.
One day Canacee get asleep until late. She dreams of the mirror and the ring. She goes out walking that morning with her maids. She come across bleeding Peregnine falcon that is crying anguisly. Canacee pick up the falcon and spoke to it. The falcon tells her a tale of a handsome tercelet that fell in love with a kite as well as with the falcon, buth cannot choose between the two. Canacee heals the bird with herbs. Then the tale returns to king cambyuskan but the tale ends.

The Squire’s tale is not complete or finish unclearly, so I find it is difficult to determine certain aspects of the tale. I assume its tale as a fragment because Chaucer did not finish its tale or because the later section of the tale was lost in the manuscripts from which The Canterbury Tales were taken, considering when chaucer wrote his works, printing device had yet to be invented.

Actually the tale divided into three parts:
Part 1.
In Tartary, king Cambuskan holds his birthday feast. At the third course a knight gives four gifts from the king of Arabia and India a mechanical brass steed, a magic mirror, a ring that enables its wearer to understand the language of the birds, and a sword that will cure any wound. The ring and mirror are gifts for Canacee.
Part 2.
Canacee finds a wounded falcon, regreting her sad lot. Canacee, whose ring allows her to understand the bird, hears the story of her betrayal by a false lover.
Part 3.
Return to king Cambyuskan and Here the poem ends.
Because the Squire’s tale exist only in a fragmented form, so its story only gives minor indication either in structure or in theme. According to Samekto The things that appear in Chaucer’s poem is realism. Until that time English literature usually tales about the hero or the incredible people which concerns with the fantasy (Samekto,1998:10).
Actually, I agree with Samekto’s statements above, although I do not know exactly about realism. I assume the Squire’s Tale is an adventure with elements of fantasy. The presence of magic mirror, a ring that allows the wearer to know the language of animals and a sword that can cure any wound, gine a sign that the story contains of elements of fantasy. Furtermore, a mysterious knight gives the ring and the mirror to a little daughter, canacee, As I know, a kid or even a teenager is the nearest level of age who always think about a fantasy, a fairy tale.
Talk about the elements of fantasy, it is similar to the Knight’s tale but with less of elements of magic. Although the tale brings a lot of magic stuffs but I assume the genre of this tale as a romance tale because the tone about love, actually a bird who has been rejected in love seems the nucleus of this story. There are a hedgepodge of plotlines that the story could follow, including the mysterious knight, the mechanical horse and the injured falcon.

Samekto,SS.,”Iktisar Sejarah Kesusastraaan Inggris”, Daya Widya : Jakarta, 1998
Wright, David, “Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales” A New Verse, Translation, Oxford University Press: New York, 1995


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