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Chivalry Through The Ages Essay

1251 words - 5 pages

Lytton Strachey once said, “The old interests of aristocracy-the romance of action, the exalted passions of chivalry and war-faded into the background, and their place was taken by the refined and intimate pursuits of peace and civilization.” The differences between medieval and modern times show the progression in love and honor and chivalry. From the era of King Arthur’s knights to the modern times of Nicholas Sparks’ novels, the picture of what was originally a knight fighting for his “Princess” altered to a man dating a woman, to prove that through the generations courtly love will always exist but because of the change of responsibility, man no longer has the obligation in following the code of chivalry to pursue his girl.
In the Medieval literature the man represents a “Knight in Shining Armor” who goes by the Code of Chivalry to liberate the “damsel in distress” (Chivalry 2). The Code of Chivalry “was a moral system which went beyond rules of combat and introduces the concept of Chivalrous conduct-qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women” (2). The men in the Arthurian Era also exhibited medieval courtly love to the women. Men who were “knights [served] his courtly lady with the same obedience and loyalty which he owes to his liege lord. [The woman] are in complete control of the love relationship, while he owes her obedience and submission” (Schwartz 2). In The Allegory of Love, C.S Lewis describes the “secret love of Lancelot and Guinevere” (Mims 3). Lancelot represents “the easy attainment of love makes it of little value; difficulty of attainment makes it prized” (Medieval Courtly Love 2). Lancelot demonstrates this quote when he sets out to rescue Queen Guinevere, who is taken “[captive] in the mysterious land of Gorre” (Mims 3). Lancelot starts the journey in discovering the queen but “encounters many tribulations” along the way, and even after Lancelot finds Guinevere, “his trials are not yet over,” showing the characteristics of chivalry-hope, valour, and faith in Lancelot (3). At the end of the novel a tournament is being held between Lancelot and the other knights, which gives “Guinevere another opportunity of exercising her position of power. Guinevere, in disguise, sends a message ordering him to do his poorest” (3). This quote exemplifies that the competency holds within the women in Arthurian Time relationships, and the men (knights) honor their women no matter what the aftermath abides to. Lancelot then obeys the assortment of commands Guinevere gives and acquiesce himself in becoming “humiliated, mocked, and laughed at by his fellow peers,” showing the complete “devotion towards Guinevere” (3). This quote demonstrates how the men have to abide to the plethora of commands that the women tells them to do to “be worthy of her love or to win her favor” (Schwartz 2). Furthermore, this also illustrates the battle that men have to go through to “save” their woman, and to...

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