In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer depicts the pilgrimage of thirty travelers to the tomb of Thomas of Becket. Pilgrimages of this kind were common during the middle ages. During the journey, each traveler is asked by the host to tell four tales. Through the telling of these tales, Chaucer is able to show further characterization beyond the description of each character given in the prologue. "The Knight's Tale- is one of romantic chivalry, demonstrating through the characters in the tale, the Knight's own behavior, beliefs, and virtues. The distinguished lady called the Wife of Bath tells a fable about a knight searching for knowledge in order to win his queen's favor and save his own life. In humorous contrast to the tales of the Knight and the lady is "The Miller's Tale."" In telling his fabliau, the Miller uses vulgar themes and language as well as crude humor, showing how the Miller himself perhaps thinks and behaves. By relating the stories told by the individual characters to their descriptions in the prologue, Chaucer's early descriptions of the characters can be well justified by the reader.
Chaucer characterizes the Knight during the prologue, first with a direct description and then with examples of the Knight's actions that support the description. The Knight is described as distinguished, chivalrous, truthful, honorable, generous, and courteous. The Knight was honored in many nations, showing his fame in acts of chivalry. Conversely, the Knight is described wearing a "fustian tunic, stained and dark with smudges from his armor,"" showing his modesty through lack of extravagant décor. The Knight was very skilled in combat, dueling to the death fifteen times, and jousting on three occasions, winning all three by killing his opponent. Described as a wise knight who never spoke boorishly, the Knight displayed qualities that surpassed those expected of ordinary knights.